Sure there are pitchers like Josė Fernandez and Matt Harvey who seem to have figured out big league hitters immediately after their promotion to the show. But many pitchers go through growing pains before they figure it out. Allen Webster is one of those pitchers.
If you look at the win/loss record for Webster, it doesn’t look all that bad (3-2). But look deeper into the statistics and if you watch him pitch, there is nothing easy about Webster’s starts. His 5.81 ERA is a couple of runs above league average and his 49 base runners in 31 innings shows how hard he works each and every inning.
Webster has the makeup to be a starter in the big leagues. He has 3 pitches, fastball, slider, and change up. His fastball sits between 91-95 and he has a swing and miss change up. His slider is a work in progress but has greatly improved since last season. So what’s the problem. CONTROL.
Watching Webster, you see a guy who can cruise one inning, and the next inning cannot find the zone. As a fan, it is extremely frustrating to watch but I can only imagine how frustrating it is for Webster. Webster does not have the stuff where when he is down in the count he can just blow it by hitters. Webster has to hit his spots, and by the numbers, he has not been able to do that. Big league hitters can hit a fastball, no matter how fast it is, when they know it’s coming. If Webster wants to show signs of improving, he has to throw quality pitches in the beginning of the count to get ahead.
Another aspect of Webster’s game that I have noticed is he struggles in shut down innings. Shut down innings are crucial when it comes to grabbing momentum and Webster has not been able to put up a 0 in them. For instance, back on August 2nd in a start against the Yankees, The Red Sox spotted Webster a 3 run lead in the second inning. Webster followed that by allowing 4 runs in the 3rd. These are situations for a pitcher to grab hold of the game and get your team back in the dugout to score again and Webster has not been able to do that.
There is nothing left for Webster to prove at AAA (4-4, 3.10 ERA). He has to figure out how to get big league hitters out. Luckily for him, the Sox are basically tanking the season and allowing their young players to try and prove themselves at the big league level. Webster could be one of those pitchers that never pans out as a starter, or one that never pans out at all. But Webster most likely will have the opportunity to figure things out for the remainder of the season and try and prove to the Boston organization that he could be a piece moving forward.