The offense has been easier to discern so far. Mike Yastrzemski? Yep, that’s a keeper. Donovan Solano? Let’s see some more from the veteran.
The bullpen has shown flashes, most of the rotation not enough for a fair judgment.
But have the Giants discovered a future, significant piece in Logan Webb?
It certainly looks that way early, the 23-year-old righty quietly off to a nice start after pitching into the sixth inning at Coors Field and becoming the first Giants starter to record a win this year, in a 4-3 victory over the Rockies on Wednesday.
Webb is a more traditional prospect who’s emerging, rather than the late bloomers separating themselves on the offensive side. Facing a high-powered Rockies lineup in a venue in which the balls sprout wings, Webb was undeterred, even after allowing a cheap, unearned run in the first.
He threw 50 of his 68 pitches for strikes in allowing just two runs (one earned) over his five-plus innings, striking out four and surrendering four hits.
“He’s pretty fiery and tenacious as well,” Gabe Kapler said of Webb, who walked off the mound muttering to and angry with himself in the sixth in allowing a leadoff single to Tony Wolters. Kapler had warned him he would need a clean inning to continue. “Even though he pitched a really solid game in this ballpark against a really tough lineup, I think he felt like he has more in the tank. You know what, we think he has more in the tank.”
That will be the next step — extending that performance for 90-some pitches and perhaps six or seven innings. But Webb was efficient, not walking a batter and relying upon an assortment of pitches, his four-seamer most often but his changeup may have been best. He’s throwing an increasing number of cutters, new this year after offseason work with pitching director Brian Bannister, and he shattered a lefty bat with the pitch.
It was Webb’s third start of the year, and while he’s only totaled 12 2/3 innings, he boasts a neat-and-tidy 2.13 ERA. Oh, and the Giants have won all of his starts, which means a 6-7 team can thank him for half its wins.
“Last year, when we had Buster [Posey] and [Stephen] Vogter, that was one thing they preached — it’s pitch a winner,” Webb said over Zoom. “Even if it doesn’t go the way you want it to, pitch a winner and that’s the main thing.”
Webb said he was “mad” about how his first two starts went, when he was effective but wild in outings against Los Angeles and Texas.
He is still honing his arsenal, which is a bit jam-packed, his cutter and sweeper being introduced this year. With a fastball that touched 96 mph, he’s trying to get four distinct pitches down without redundancy and that create different shapes.
It was five innings without seeing the lineup a third time. But it’s indisputably something to build upon for a starter who was more viewed as a hope than a certainty coming out of spring training 1.0.
Trevor Gott nailed down his third save without incident, but Kapler did not want to anoint him his closer. It sounds as if Kapler is keeping his options open; if the opposing team’s heart of the lineup is coming up in the eighth, perhaps that is when he would deploy Gott.
“We have several options in our bullpen, high-leverage options for where the most important spots come up in the game,” Kapler said. “I think we’re going to stay committed to using them where they match up best.”
Tyler Anderson will be the Giants’ starter for Thursday’s matinee, the lefty facing his old pals.