Padres Prospect Report: Alan Webb

Alan Webb is a 24-year-old lefthander who has been in the San Diego Padres organization for one year. After pitching well in Mobile, he was promoted to Portland and went on to pitch in the Arizona Fall League for Peoria. His claim to fame thus far was being traded by the Detroit Tigers, along with others, to the Texas Rangers for Juan Gonzalez in 1999.

"Webb is a left-handed reliever who might find a niche as a situational guy if he can more consistently locate his fastball," Tom Nichols of Mobile said. "He is very tough on left-handed hitters."

In Mobile, his walks/hits per inning pitched (WHIP) was an impressive 1.24 in 84.2 innings pitched. Not so impressive was his command. Webb walked a batter every 6.4 plate appearances, something that actually got worse in Arizona. Walking 47 over that span during his tenure in Mobile equates to one every two innings.

In the Majors, walks equals runs. Amazingly enough, Alan Webb had an ERA of just 3.30 – partially due to the fact he only allowed 58 hits on the year.

"He is an interesting story in that he was released out of the Northern League (independent) in 2002 and then made a Double-A club in 2003," Announcer Tom Nichols of Mobile said. "I would guess that he is in Arizona because the Padres want to see if he can dominate good left-handed hitters, something he flashed in 2003."

Webb was not impressive at all in his AFL stint. He averaged a walk per inning and his WHIP was 2.52 and hitters were tagging him at a .339 batting clip. Couple those stats with an 11.68 ERA and his tour in Arizona was a failure.

"His walk total is way too high, not because he can't throw strikes, but because he won't throw strikes," a scout in the Padres organization told us. "He needs to become much more aggressive as far as challenging hitters instead of nibbling. Sometimes he ‘pitches scared' instead of just coming at the hitter with his best stuff."

Webb has fallen from grace since his early days and his Mobile season had put him back on the map. Back in 1998, Webb struck out 202 for West Michigan and had 15 in one game. Webb was originally a fourth-round selection of the Detroit Tigers in 1997. In 1999, Webb saw his strikeout totals fall and his base on balls rise.

Webb made a brief appearance in Portland pitching 2 hitless, scoreless innings of relief for the win.

He projects to be a middle reliever in the majors and at 24 and as a lefty he still has a chance to make another impression after a terrible AFL stint. Lefties get the benefit of the doubt in most cases. This may be his last impression.


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AFL participants -- JJ Furmaniak and Matt Hampton reports will follow shortly.

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