Friday, December 7, 2012

Travis Webb Signs with Brewers: Scouting Report

Travis Webb signed a MiLB contract with an invite to Major League Spring Training with the Brewers. Webb is 28 years old and was originally drafted in the 8th round by the Reds in 2006 out of Washington State. He spent the entire year in AAA Louisville in 2012, appearing in 53 games as a reliever and one as a starter. Up until 2011, he was basically only a starter but has shifted to the bullpen. In 2012, he had a big strikeout rate (26.1 %), but also a big walk rate (13.2%) and 1.09 HR/9IP. He didn't have a good ground-ball rate and had a 13.0% HR/OFB. Despite pitching in a park that played slightly hitter friendly (after being pretty pitcher friendly in 2011), he was much worse on the road.

A big lefty (listed at 6-4 205), Webb has a high leg kick then sort of a hitch in the middle of his delivery.

When I went back to watch when he pitched against the Phillies' AAA (whose broadcast has a radar gun), here were the two pitches I saw:
86 MPH fastball with some movement and cut. Gets up to 89 MPH.

73-77 MPH change. Not a great pitch in movement but isn't bad when he controls it and keeps it low.

Even though he pitched in the Arizona Fall League in 2011, Brooks Baseball just has data from two spring training outings in 2012. According to that data, his fastball was much better, averaging 90.60 MPH (and all labelled 4-seamers). His changeup averaged 78.8 MPH, but he actually threw more sliders than changeups. That pitch averaged 80.50 MPH and the few curveballs he mixed in averaged 73.38 MPH.

The stuff is not very interesting obviously, but Webb has done a great job of neutralizing lefties over the last two seasons (2.72 FIP, .18 HR/9IP, 3.28 SIERA). His unique arm angle gives him the ability to get lefties out, but exposes him to right-handers:

Overall as a pitching staff, the Brewers were pretty solid against lefties (10th best in the Majors, but overall as a bullpen the Brewers were 25th in fWAR. They will have some addition by subtraction (thanks to K-Rod leaving), but it is obviously a 'pen that needs some help. Webb will most likely get a look as a LOOGY, which he has the potential to be, but I can't see him being able to get righties out.

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