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Workhorse Webb: Logan Webb’s Unlucky 2023

San Francisco Giants pitcher Logan Webb walks off the field at the end of an inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oracle Park; Photo via Conor P. Fitzgerald

Logan Webb of the San Francisco Giants is having a career year on the mound. The right-handed starter is on pace to throw more innings than he ever has, all while posting career bests in strikeouts and walks. However, Webb’s Giants have not been having the season they wished for in 2023. They have fallen to a 70-70 record at the time of this writing, an astounding decline for a team who was 13 games over .500 at one point this season.

On the surface it seems like the righty is having a down year, which is far from the truth. Webb has been nothing but quality this year in his 187 innings pitched. When taking a look at his Baseball Savant page, it reveals a pitcher who excels at collecting outs with the help of his defense. Webb sits in the 98th percentile for ground-ball percentage, inducing a ground ball on 61.1% of his pitches. The percentiles also point to a pitcher with nasty offspeed pitches, ranking in the 100th percentile for Offspeed Run Value. Webb’s pitching mix features only one offspeed pitch, his changeup. This type of run value on the pitch that Webb throws more than his fastball is an outstanding weapon to have. Speaking of value, his general pitching run value is in the 93rd percentile. When he throws these valuable pitches to hitters, he is hardly issuing free passes, as he ranks in the 98th percentile in walk percentage. With this elite ability to collect outs and prevent runs, you would expect the Giants to thrive during Logan Webb’s starts.

Webb has arguably been the steadiest part of this Giants team. His win/loss record goes to show why the pitching win is an outdated statistic. Webb has collected 9 wins to his 12 losses, but has set career bests in several categories throughout 2023. The main problem with Webb’s game is something that is far beyond his realm of influence, a good problem to have as a pitcher, but a bad one to have as a teammate. Logan Webb has the lowest run support out of every starting pitcher in the majors in 2023.

The Giants’ offense puts up a measly 3.03 runs per nine innings during Logan Webb’s starts. For context, the Oakland A’s have managed to put up 3.68 runs per game in 2023, meaning the Giants put up over half a run less than the historically bad Athletics when Webb takes the mound. To make matters worse, he has received one run or less in 16 of the 29 starts he has made this year. With Webb’s ERA sitting at 3.51, it is easy to see why he can’t seem to collect as many wins as he deserves on the mound. Webb tossed his 20th quality start of the year on September 5th, but he still walked away with the loss after giving up 3 earned runs in 6.2 innings.

One of the concerns with Webb’s game is his tendency to give up hard contact. Savant has him ranked in the 4th percentile for Hard-Hit% and in the 6th percentile for average exit velocity. Paired with the fact 61.1% of balls put in play are ground balls, this can cause some issues for the defense. Many of the balls put in play against Webb will also find holes in the infield for base hits, causing unwanted traffic on the base paths. Still, because Webb is so elite at preventing runs, the hard-contact issue is minimal. Webb will end the year with his career-best WHIP and WAR totals. Webb has solidified himself as the true ace of the pitching staff in San Francisco, earning every bit of the 5-year, $90-million contract extension he signed before this season.

Logan Webb has pitched through significant adversity in 2023, proving to be an excellent teammate during the Giants’ offensive struggles. When reporters asked him if he was aware of the lack of run support he received during his starts, Webb said it was just ‘part of the game’. He is growing into a leadership role and helping his team push through their struggles at the plate. Webb could easily have voiced his frustrations to the team, but that is not the type of presence he wants to convey in the clubhouse. The organization wants to win, and Webb will be one of the leaders to help them reach that goal for the remainder of his time with the Giants.

Regardless, it is fair to say that his team has let Webb down in 2023. This same Giants offense was potent at one point in 2023, as this team strung together a 10-game win streak and went 18-8 in the month of June. Since that point, the Giants have done nothing but skid all the way back down to a .500 record as a playoff spot moves further out of view. Their chances to make the postseason are not zero, as their schedule has blessed them with seven more games against the Colorado Rockies, including 4 more at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Given the Giants’ ability to collect wins against this team, this could hopefully be the string of wins they need to get themselves back into the playoff discussion. If they can get the offense on the same page, Logan Webb will be a weapon come October.


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