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Webb eyeing 2020 rotation spot with Giants

@mi_guardado
January 14, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants rookie Logan Webb admitted there were times last year when he couldn’t help being a little starstruck. After making his Major League debut in August, the 23-year-old right-hander found himself facing lineups stacked with hitters he had admired as a kid. He suddenly shared a clubhouse

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants rookie Logan Webb admitted there were times last year when he couldn’t help being a little starstruck. After making his Major League debut in August, the 23-year-old right-hander found himself facing lineups stacked with hitters he had admired as a kid. He suddenly shared a clubhouse with veterans like Stephen Vogt, one of his favorite players from his childhood team, the A’s.

Webb experienced that tug of fandom again last month, when his father informed him that the Giants had hired a new pitching coach: Andrew Bailey, the former All-Star closer for Oakland.

“Me and my dad were pretty excited,” Webb said during Major League Baseball’s Rookie Career Development Program in Miami last week. “My dad follows MLB Network, and he was the first one to tell me. I remember watching [Bailey] with the A's. He was Rookie of the Year. It's pretty cool.”

Moments like those underscore Webb’s youth, which figures to be a central theme for the Giants as they look to build their next core of players in 2020 and beyond. While he endured his share of highs and lows last year, Webb has the potential to develop into a long-term piece in the rotation and is poised to enter the season as one of the Giants’ most intriguing young players.

Ranked the club’s top pitching prospect and No. 5 overall by MLB Pipeline, Webb received an 80-game suspension in May after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. He was reinstated in July and made only four starts, including one at Triple-A Sacramento, before earning his first callup with the Giants.

Webb made an impression from the start, holding the D-backs to one earned run over five innings at Chase Field to become the first Giants pitcher to earn a win in his debut since Ryan Sadowski in 2009.

“My debut was probably my favorite memory,” Webb said. “It's kind of cliche, but that was pretty special for me. I had my whole family there. They had all their signs, the 'Logan Webb Fan Club' picture. That was special.”

Webb ended up finishing the season with the Giants, logging a 5.22 ERA over eight starts, and hopes to continue to build off that body of work in 2020. He appears well positioned to compete for a spot in the Giants’ Opening Day rotation this spring, but he’s expected to be on an innings limit after missing more than half of the Minor League season last year due to his suspension.

“He's going to be working off of less than a full workload going into 2020, so that's a concern for us,” president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said at the Winter Meetings last month. “But he's shown the ability to be a rotation piece as long as we can manage the workload over the course of the season.”

Webb said the Giants have not yet spoken to him about his workload for the upcoming season, though he plans to come into Spring Training prepared to throw the same amount of innings as he normally does as a starter. He has already had some conversations with Bailey and the other new pitching coaches, as well as a lunch outing with new manager Gabe Kapler.

“I'm excited to work with him,” Webb said of Kapler. “He's an awesome guy. I've met a couple of the other pitching coaches and talked to a couple of them on the phone, so I'm definitely excited with the way things are going and the direction we're heading.”

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.