2020 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Jacob Webb and Free Agent Contest Update

contest update

Well, Josh Tomlin was the first free agent on a guaranteed contract signed by the Braves this offseason, and surprisingly NOT ONE OF YOU NE’ER DO WELLS PICKED HIM! Therefore, the contest moves to the 2nd free agent signed by the Braves in the 2020-21 offseason. All guesses from last contest are void now and you’ll have to submit your new guess on this thread.

Jacob Webb

An electric young arm, Jacob Webb is someone that I’ve enjoyed watching pitch for a while. While never the gaudiest prospect, I thought he had potential and he’s shown it in his limited time in the majors thus far. However, his public perception may be marred by the big home run he gave up in game 5 of the NLCS, his low point of the short season.

Where’s He From?

Originally an 18th round draft pick for the Braves in 2014, Webb worked his way through the system before making his MLB debut in 2019. He attended Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas where he garnered attention for his 1.74 ERA over 160.1 college innings. Although he was a starter in college, the Braves quickly converted him to a reliever. He continued his college success in the minors; a combined stat line of his 5 minor league seasons gives a 2.89 ERA in 177.2 innings with 11.0 K/9, but 4.3 BB/9.

2020 Results

In the regular season, Webb pitched 10 innings across 8 games while allowing 0 ER. His 5 walks in those innings were a bit high, but it’s a very small sample size. His first two playoff appearances were great, 2 scoreless innings, but that aforementioned third outing is where the wheels fell off.

What Should We Expect?

As I expressed in “Where Do We Go From Here? Part 3, The BullpenI personally love Webb and think he has a great shot to make the Opening Day roster in the bullpen. Webb has an elite fastball that tops 99 mph and has elite spin. All of his pitches have a lot of life and movement that make it difficult on the hitter. His changeup averages 11 mph slower than his fastball and had a 45.2% whiff rate. He significantly increased his usage of the pitch from 12% to 33%. I think this continued usage will help him, as a bullpen arm with his fastball/changeup should work well. Maybe if he continues to develop his slider he’ll be in even better shape. He has also only allowed a 6.1% barrel rate thus far in his career, an elite figure. Still a small sample size, but if he can keep that up he will find success. He has already collected 1.1 bWAR in his 42.1 career innings, with just 5 ER that all came on home runs (these home runs account for 4 of his 7 allowed barrels). If Webb continues to progress, he could be a legit option as a setup man in this bullpen.

Author: Matt P

Hello, I’m Matt Pocza! I am a 4th year finance and economics student at the University of Florida and I love the Atlanta Braves. I’ve played baseball my entire life, and I am a sidearm pitcher for the club team at Florida. I also enjoy scuba diving, football and business. Follow me on twitter @braves_rumors!

33 thoughts on “2020 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Jacob Webb and Free Agent Contest Update”

  1. According to Statcast, Webb’s changeup and 4-seamer is grading out really well, but the curveball is grading poorly for the 2nd straight year. He pretty much stopped throwing it in 2020 so maybe he’s becoming just a fastball/change guy which would be a good decision for him if he can’t develop the curve.

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  3. Matt P – nice profile on Webb (Go Gators! Didn’t attend, but sent a bit of money that way later in life). Continuing my wishful thinking, picking Melancon as our 2nd FA.

  4. I’ll go with flowers. AA likes to get his small moves out of the way first so if flowers is coming back it’s probably in the next few days.

    @3 Go Gators!

  5. Well done, Matt. Thank you.

    Young men have visions. Old men dream dreams. It’s a two way tie! Trevor Bauer and Marcell Ozuna.

  6. I’m sticking with Culberson. (Actually, I mentioned him in another context. I don’t think I picked before, and the fact that I was thinking Tomlin probably carries no weight with you guys.)

  7. I’ll stick with Cakes in the hopes that I lose.

    I really liked Webb too. With all of the promising arms in the pen, I think it looks to be elite again next year. It would be really nice to figure out a plan for Newk there as well, but that ship may have left the dock.

    As for Tomlin, it might have been a simple insurance move to have enough warm bodies able to start should it be another MASH tent starting staff next year.

  8. Although it was just 1M, I really don’t understand signing Josh Tomlin.

    And that Enciarte for Kimbrel trade? I’d make it if for no other reason than Enciarte is terrible to an extreme now, but neither of those players are any good anymore. They’re both absolutely done.

  9. @8
    Hehe…obviously, no. But the Angels are fascinating. They have only 4 guys with guaranteed $ for 2021, yet that $ adds up to ~$120 million dollars.

  10. Also from the last thread re: Bauer as 1st Reds Cy Young winner, it seems weird at first blush but then I looked at the team all time leader board and the only name that sticks out to me as a possibility from the inception of the award was Jose Rijo (Tom Browning was pretty good in his time, but…nah not him.) Rijo actually came in 4th in 1991 and 5th in 1993. Obviously some tough competition in both years. ;)

  11. Added to above – looks like Seaver came close a couple of times during his years with the Reds.

    Always forget about that as I see him as a Met (where he did indeed win Cy Youngs.)

  12. In the spirit of head-scratching resignings of our own free agents. I’m going to project the Hammers resign Tyler Flowers to a 1 year 2.5 million dollar deal.

  13. Completely forgot to touch on Webb’s injury history in the article so here’s a quick run down:

    missed all of 2015 after undergoing Tommy John
    2019 ended early due to elbow surgery
    2020 started on the IL with a right shoulder strain

    Hopefully these issues are in his past and don’t continue to crop up

  14. Yeah, it’s mostly just incredible that the Redlegs are one of the oldest franchises in America, and they’ve had some great hitters, but they just haven’t had pitching. Sometimes they haven’t needed it, but they sure haven’t had it.

  15. @18, If we don’t have to really give anything up for him then sure, he’s a better gamble than flowers on offense. Not over the moon with him though and his defense is lazy.

  16. Well, since my first pick, Robbie Ray, is already off the board, I have to go in a new direction.

    Not sure you guys are aware of it but O’Day was the formal HR catcher in the O’s bullpen. We need someone like that so for me it’s between Melancon and O’Day. Between them O’Day specializes in weak fly balls and Melancon in weak ground balls. I’ll go with the GB guy, Melancon, but he’ll have to come at an O’Day price (less than the $4M MLBTR is predicting). Melancon at 1/$3M.

    I don’t really like the SP pitcher choices but the best ones won’t go early.

  17. Rog, that’s a bold pick especially considering the amount of relievers out there makes me feel like the relief market will be gridlocked for awhile until the top guys get paid.

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