Jacob Webb is often a forgotten man when talking about Atlanta’s bullpen, and there’s a valid reason for that. Since his debut in 2019, Webb has only tossed 42.1 innings, but over that small sample size, he has been elite.
When Webb came up in 2019, there were a lot more questions than answers in the bullpen. Mark Melancon and Shane Greene had yet to come aboard, and the Braves still hadn’t made the push to race past the Phillies to win the division. Webb was awfully impressive, only giving up 5 ER in 36 appearances. He stranded 86% of the runners he faced, and his BABIP allowed was only .233. Unfortunately, disaster struck in late August of that year. Webb had to go under the knife to fix an ailing elbow and was placed on the 60-day IL, ending his season. It was a crippling blow to a Braves bullpen that was just beginning to find their footing, and the problems were added to when Chris Martin went down with an injury before even throwing a pitch in the NLDS.
After the elbow injury cut his 2019 short, Webb had many question marks coming into 2020. As impressive as he was, his FIP of 4.30 indicated that he was likely due for some regression. We didn’t see Webb until September, but he picked up right where he left off and then some, allowing no earned runs in 10 innings, even though his BABIP and walks per nine rose. However, his FIP was way down — only 2.69. Webb was also fantastic in his first two playoff games before faltering in a costly way in Game 5 against the Dodgers.
I don’t think Webb will keep up his career 1.06 ERA, but without Shane Greene and Mark Melancon, the Braves are hoping he can become the right-handed set-up man that this bullpen desperately needs. Chris Martin is fantastic, but he can’t be the only reliable arm tossing from the right-side late in games. Hopefully, Atlanta’s offense can put Webb in plenty of low-pressure situations as he gets stretched out, but by the end of the year, the Braves need him to be a weapon out of the ‘pen, and he’s proven he is plenty capable of becoming that guy.