Spring Training Spotlight - #68 John Webb

Signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as a minor league free agent on October 28, 2005. Mileur takes a look at #68, and he isn't the only one checking out this pitcher.

You are walking around Roger Dean Stadium, the Cardinals spring training complex, and then there is a player who walks past you and you turn around to check out the name on the back, because you don't have a clue as to who he is.

That's what happen the first time I saw #68, John Webb,in camp this spring.

Since that first day, Webb has started turning a lot of people's head and best of all, he is doing it with his pitching.

Including the Cardinals first game with Florida Atlantic University (FAU), the 26 year old, 6'3", 220 pound right hander, Webb, has appeared in four spring training games for the Cardinals and in six innings, all in relief, he has given up only four hits and hasn't allowed a single run. He has fanned five players while walking two in his first four games.

Where did he come from?

Originally drafted by the Chicago Cubs (ex-Cub Factor?) in the 19th round in 1999, Webb has spent most of his professional career in the Cubs' minor league system.

In that time span he has amassed a minor league record of 37-34 with a 3.98 ERA.

Webb has appeared in five games at the major league level, all with Tampa Bay, four games in 2004 and one last season, for a combined record of 01-10.38 ERA.

Last season, Webb pitched the majority of the season at Triple-A Durham where he started all but one game (27 starts). He finished with a minor league record of 10-6 with a 4.85 ERA.

Nothing in Webb's previous seven seasons of professional baseball would suggest that he would be experiencing this early success in spring training.

He showed up in camp in good shape and ready to pitch, which is good news because, Webb has had some problems with injuries in the past.

In 2001 he missed most of the season after injuring his right elbow and eventually underwent ulnar collateral ligament reconstructive surgery.

He played most of 2002 injury free and was healthy in 2003, when he posted a 5-8 record for West Tenn, with a 4.50 ERA in 30 games that included 22 starts.

John began the 2004 season on the disabled list after breaking his leg in February while chasing a dog down a flight of stairs.

Webb looks healthy this spring and has been a pleasant surprise to date.

While still a long shot to make the Cardinals' roster, he could be a valuable backup in the case of injuries to the bullpen.

Most likely he'll start the season at Triple-A Memphis, but you can expect him to make an appearance in the majors some time this season.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories