There are a lot of ways to sum up how far Giants right-hander Logan Webb has come over the last year, including taking a look at what other members of the 2021 rotation said last week as they signed multi-year contracts.
Kevin Gausman, during his introductory press conference for the Blue Jays, called Webb one of the best young pitchers in baseball and said he has the talent "to be able to do whatever he wants to do on a pitching mound." Alex Wood, asked how the Giants could overcome the loss of Gausman, said they still have a good group and a "bona fide ace in Logan Webb." Even a pitcher who wasn't part of last year's rotation had praise for the young starter.
Alex Cobb said he enjoyed watching Webb break through in October, weeks before he knew the Giants would come after him in free agency. Back then, Cobb was just like everyone else, sitting at home and watching an intense Giants-Dodgers series.
"Just watching the games as a fan in the postseason, you were blown away by his demeanor on the mound, his competitiveness, his stuff," Cobb said last week. "Everything about it screamed 'top of the rotation,' just from the way he carried himself to the quality of the outs he was getting. I'm excited to jump in and watch him up close."
Whenever the season starts, Cobb will slot in somewhere behind Webb, alongside Wood and Anthony DeSclafani, who also was brought back. The Giants still will add pitching, but at this point it's hard to see someone unseating Webb as their Opening Day starter. The pitchers who might have had a shot -- Max Scherzer, Gausman, AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray -- have all gone off the board.
Even without signing another ace type, the Giants have the makings of another strong rotation. Webb was one of the best pitchers in baseball for the final four months of the season and took a leap in two postseason starts, holding the dangerous Dodgers lineup to one run over 14 2/3 innings. Webb had an ERA+ of 135 for the season, and DeSclafani (129), Wood (107) and Cobb (119) are all coming off good years.
Cobb put up his numbers for an Angels rotation that ranked 22nd in the majors in starters' ERA and now joins a group that was third.
"It was fun to watch them as an outsider last year when the baseball world didn't give them much of a chance and they went and became the best team throughout the regular season, so I want to be a part of that and try to help contribute to that rotation and the mindset that we are the tone-setters and the game is won and lost with what we do on the mound every night," he said. "It's an exciting group that I'm very fortunate to be part of."