Even though he has lost some stuff, if he is still an extreme groundballer, then that should help mitigate the effects of pitching in arlington. I wonder how his control and command have fared, as well as his velocity. As long as he gets grounders, even if his Ks drop precipitously, he can be effective. Personally i think he wont be able to make it onto the field enough to help or hurt the team.
Comment by phoenix2042 — December 27, 2010 @ 11:40 am
Needs to start working on his Roundhouse Kick to the Face
I’m not surprised Webb had to settle for a one year deal.
No one was going to give him a guaranteed multi-year contract.
I also agree that he’ll only give them about 120IP max, and his ERA will be north of 4.00; if that’s what you want from your 5th starter, he’s probably going to earn the contract.
I just think it’s a shame that this guy took two years to rehab a surgery that typically takes 12-18 months to come back from, and his velocity still isn’t close to what it was when he was healthy. The only positive is that he’s a sinkerballer so FB velocity isn’t nearly as important in this case. He needs location more than velocity.
Best case scenario: He takes the ball every fifth day with some spot starts mixed in and eats innings while keeping Texas “in games”. That’s a 5th starter.
Webb is going to learn real fast that he won’t be babied by the Rangers the way he was by the D-backs.
I guess I’m in the minority here but this is a low risk deal, and Webb losing some velocity isn’t the same as a power pitcher dropping velocity. Webb is truly a “pitcher” and his MO of being an extreme groundball pitcher profiles perfect for Arlington. The risk/reward meter can’t go too low and the reward meter has a chance at producing.
Comment by Kevin L. Wiley — December 27, 2010 @ 1:16 pm
As a D-back fan, let me remind you what happened the last time Webb pitched in Texas.
He gave up 8+ runs in about 5 innings because the Rangers simply cut off the sinker (before it sank) and hit groundballs all over the infield, which led to a floodgate of runs. They basically approached Webb the same way the Twins did when they beat him.
The problem with him losing velocity is that location now becomes THAT much more important, and if he misses location, those flyballs are going to travel a long way in the Texas heat.
For a guy trying to come back after not piching for two years, Texas is not the right situation, especially in the summer.
It’s low risk for the Rangers, but realistically I don’t see Webb having the stamina nor quality control to be anything more than a fringe starter now.
For $5m, I like this kind of signing. If he rebounds to a shadow of prior form, his groundball ways should make for an ERA in the low 4’s overall. If he doesn’t rebound, I doubt he even gets the innings to put up negative stats for the club. I tend to feel that their evaluators should be able to figure out if he’s ready to take on big league bats or not.
For another club, I wouldn’t like this signing as much but it’s hard to get guys who can put up good numbers in a park like Arlington. If healthy, Webb is one guy who could do that. It seems like a very good fit for them to take a chance on him.
“That said, even if this deal ends up being a loss for the Rangers, its impact will be minimal.”
The Rangers, A’s and Angels are all in “win now” mode. The Rangers specifically are looking at losing CJ Wilson to free agency at the end of 2011, there goes an ace. This division is still entirely up for grabs and even the slightest weak link on the roster could make all the difference. Say the Rangers finally cut him loose after 10 poor starts and the Rangers end up 5 games out of first at the end of it, its scenarios like this why teams fall out of contention. The A’s last year used largely replacement level players in LF & RF last year and finished 9 games out. Josh Hamilton had a WAR of 8, its swings like those that put teams over the top.
He had major shoulder surgery. He very well might never regain that velocity. He might simply be a low 80s mph pitcher at this point. Most guys that have this type of surgery never make it back to their former peak. A good number never make it back in any form.
I believe I heard an interview on XM radio a while back that stated that the reason it took Webb so long to recover from the surgery was the following:
1) it was a more in-depth surgery than they thought initially (i.e. they got into the shoulder and had to do more work than they initially thought) and
2) Webb pushed himself too hard initially in his recovery by trying to do too much and ended up setting himself back.
I KNOW the reasons Webb gave for his rehab taking two years. I don’t buy it and neither did the D-backs. The doctor who did the surgery cleared him a long time ago to start throwing off a mound; it was Webb who slowed his rehab.
I know the public reasons he gave, but as someone who works in this field (sports physiology), there’s more to this than the surgery being more invasive than expected.
Pretty depressing to see this, since Webb was arguably the best arm in baseball for a short stretch. I watched every inning of his 42-inning scoreless streak in 2007 and no one came close to scoring on him. He was simply dominating for that stretch of time.
This injury is the most disappointing I’ve seen in my baseball watching lifetime.
Comment by Coby DuBose — December 27, 2010 @ 3:14 pm
I think the Webb situation reflects the reality that we don’t know how athletes respond to workloads and what the longterm implications are of a 200IP season.
Webb seemed to be a workhorse, but the wear and tear on his shoulder was something no one could predict.
Looking at Webb, he’s not a great athlete persay, but neither are most pitchers………so there’s nothing to forecast in terms of future injury probability.
NEPP, why could Moyer get away with it, but only as a lefty?
A quick look at Moyer’s stats suggests that of late (last 3 years), he’s better against lefties than righties (although admittedly for his career his splits are roughly even.)
The last 3 years, even with those splits, Moyer has been reasonably effective for a 5th starter. That suggests to me that a rightie could possibly do what Moyer is doing.
Which brings me to your last question about a rightie with low fastball velocity who is quasi-effective….see: Hernandez, Livan. He’s not a great pitcher, but any team dumpster diving for a number 5 starter this year could do a lot worse than Livan Hernandez.
Walter Johnson takes your 200 IP limit, and raises it by 100, and laughs in your face.
Seriously, though, I think people run into trouble thinking there’s some kind of magical innings limit that will prevent injury. Seems to me all one can say at this point is that different people are different. There’s plenty of pitchers who were babied who got injured anyway, and vice versa.
As someone who works in the field of sports physiology, you must know that each individual has their own unique physiology, that their injury is also unique to that person, that every surgery performed is different than for any other person, and that everyone heals at a different rate.
There’s no way that anyone could know the exact outcome for Brandon Webb, and how long it would take him to recover. That could well be the “more to this” that you’re referring to.
Comment by Nathaniel Dawson — December 27, 2010 @ 4:39 pm
Moyer is also one of those guys that seemingly has influence on BABIP. Actually, that’s the only way he’s still in baseball.
Webb has been a 6-7 K/9 guy, but is an extreme GB (~65%). His career BABIP is much closer to league average (still better than replacment level). Webb’s ability to supress HRs is astounding (career 0.6 HR/9). We’ll see if that transfers to Texas.
It’s one thing to lose velocity. It’s something completely different to be in an MLB rotation and throwing in the low 80s.
He definately has the control to still command his stuff, but we have no idea whether that much of a drop in velocity is going to allow batters to adjust to his movement. You give a MLB hitter extra time (i.e., less velocity) and they’ll be all over it.
I hope he does well, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Not only is “stuff” an issue, but so is reinjury, and/or the mental side-effects from being injured for so long.
Comment by CircleChange11 — December 27, 2010 @ 5:44 pm
Sorry the Moyer BABIP comments were from info that was written in the mid 2000s. That no longer the case as his BABIP is at or aboive league average for the last ~5 years.
Comment by CircleChange11 — December 27, 2010 @ 5:45 pm
There might also be something to all that duble pump windup stuff and sling the ball from the side. Not as much “over the top” stuff back then.
We know that pitching is absolutely horrible for the shoulder.
We should not be surprised that pitchers get hurt, get hurt often, and get hirt long-term. We should be surprised at the guys that can handle the load without serius injury. They’re the freaks.
We use the attributes/activity of the freak to evaluate what the non-freak should do. Why can’t Tyler Hanborough be more like Amare Stoudamire. I mean c.mon is he serious about his game or not?!?!?
Comment by CircleChange11 — December 27, 2010 @ 6:02 pm
Um, excuse me? 200+ IP with a 3.50 FIP and 4.4 WAR is an ace-quality starting pitcher. Division&puffy, buy a clue.
Also, I’m an A’s fan. Homer much? NO. WAY. I mean, I assumed he was the Rangers ace because I forgot they had Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum, but I guess I was way off because Wilson walks a few hitters without letting it get to him, and that apparently makes an ERA under 3.50 meaningless.
Comment by CircleChange11 — December 27, 2010 @ 7:53 pm
Some basic Walter Johnson mechanics analysis. The guy talking describes the stuff in simplest terms.
But The Big Train did 3 things that are very good.
 Leads with hip.
 Shoulders closed, very late rotation.
 Arm angle easy on the shoulder and elbow.
There are obvious differences between baseball now and then, but the act of pitching a baseball is very similar.
Roger Craig introduced us to perhaps the best and worst thing for pitching … the slider. Tremendously effective pitch, very hard to hit. But also not great for your elbow.
You look at how much emphasis is put on throwing breaking stuff as hard as possible, and to me, it’s not surprising guys dominate for a while and then break down. It’s the trade-off.
It starts in youth baseball where kids learn to throw a curveball before they master location with the fastball, learn the changeup, and learn a cutter.
If I could control everything in youth pitching. Kids would not be allowed to throw curves before age 12, and forc them to learn how to use and locate both the fastball and change-up, then learn a cutter, and then move to a curveball. Sliders would never be throw before varsity baseball, and even then only for a few pitchers.
But, I’m dreaming at this point. Kids will throw curveballs as early as possible because  it’s cool for them to do something that big leaguers do and  well, winning your little leagues are the most important thing in the world, both for kids and adults. After all, your kid has to be major league ready at 12 … as if anything before puberty matters.
Comment by CircleChange11 — December 27, 2010 @ 8:02 pm
Not too unsimilar to Randy Johnson, another long-armed fireballer than had good durability (arm health anyway).
I would imagine quite a few people tried to get the Big Unit to throw “over the top” as the ball would be released at a height of around 7.5 feet, creating some serious downward trajectory. Good for him, he didn’t.
Comment by CircleChange11 — December 27, 2010 @ 8:05 pm
Your comment really stuck out for me for one reason: it seems you looked at an old article (Im guessing Baseball Prospectus), read their conclusion, then extrapolated that point to this article. Then, perhaps fearing a mistake you went back and checked the stats and realized that you were in fact, using old data.
This is a problem that has become much more pervasive on sites like this one. Many people new to the SABR game are dabbling in statistics, not grapsing them fully yet, then go out and attempt to argue with their faulty conclusions/stats. If you wanted to make a point about Moyer, why not pull up his page on here? B-R? Any number of other sites with metrics readily available.
To me, reading something like that comment (and I admit, for all I know you DID pull up his page on this site and just happened to misread those stats), will forever make me look at your comments with a weary eye. Not only were you wrong, but you were wrong with an adamant tone (“Actually, that’s the only way he’s still in baseball.
Sorry if I offend, for whatever reason that comment really got to me…
Hey you’re right. Not hurting my feelings. I needed to be called on it. It was a mistake, actually a double mistake. I chalk it up to not taking my time, being impulsive, and/or overly interested/excited. I did pull up his FG page to see how his BABIP had changed over the years, but that was done after I posted.
The article I referred to listed a whole lot of pitchers that showed influence over BABIP (author’s conclusion). I chose Moyer because he was the only one still playing. The reference, as well as, the “only reason he’s still in baseball” are from the article, and I should have just quoted the article, as I was not intending to pass off the conclusion as my own … but it sure reads that way. I didn’t quote because I posted in response to 2 other comments about the same article.
When looking at Moyer’s stats, when he was able to have a lower BABIP (either by skill or luck) he was a pretty good pitcher (Basically 2001-2004). Since then his BABIP has been much closer to league average, and he hasn’t been that good. When he’s able to keep his HR rate below 1, he has value, like ~league average. At this point, given the last 2 years, he probably could be replaced by a decent MiLB starter … but doesn’t erase the errors from my comments.
Comment by CircleChange11 — December 27, 2010 @ 9:20 pm
Comment by fredsbank — December 27, 2010 @ 10:43 pm
Does this deal effectively put an end to Feliz joining the rotation this year? I ask because he’d have to be stretched out. Webb might not even make it through April, which would really throw a wrench into those plans. I really really dislike this deal.
Comment by RangersFan — December 27, 2010 @ 11:15 pm
Wow, I would think the curve could wait until varsity. If they are starting that young, I wonder if the next generation of pitchers will last until 30.
Comment by Barkey Walker — December 28, 2010 @ 12:12 am
Sure it could wait. When I said “not be allowed” I was referring to league/national rules.
Not. Gonna. Happen.
I seem to be one of the few that questions the rationale for having an 11U team from San Diego travelling the nation to play high-intensity tourneys.
Heather, I’m not saying Webb couldn’t do it as a righty but that there is basically no precedent for a non knuckleballer RHP throwing that low. Moyer is a rarity even among LHPs for that type of velocity. The odds are just heavily against Webb.
I thnk there’s a very good argument to be made in not allowing young players to throw breaking pitches. That said, I think that even when they learn them later there’s still no concensus on how to teach them. For years pronation was the evil that ruined elbows, but I’ll admit to being one of the many convinced by Will Carrol in “Saving the Pitcher” that pronation at the end of a curve reduced damage to the elbow. But now even Will won’t make that claim. He made a very convincing argument at the time though. Injuries are up with the slider, but then you have anecdotal evidence of guys like Smoltz who threw one of the few 80 sliders ever and was more or less done in by using the split. My point is that the research community is still limited to largely anecdotal evidence in general as the amount of actual emperical data is severely limited, there’s just no way to correct for all the possible variables. I’m not saying that breaking balls, the slider in particular, aren’t more damaging, just that we don’t really know how damaging.
That and, I teach the kids I work with the fastball, then the change and a sinking fastball (either a cutter or pointer-off varient of the two-seamer), but when I get the feel that their starting to work on breaking stuff on their own (which every single one inevitably does) I teach them a breaking pitch. I’d rather they learn it to the best of my knowledge than theirs. Banning it would be a good thing though.
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