In a game won by adjustments, the slightest change can go a long way. Giants pitcher Logan Webb already has felt the results after a correction to his mechanics.
Webb spent the offseason in Arizona, frequenting the Giants' spring training facility in Scottsdale. He stayed there after camp was shut down due to the coronavirus, throwing numerous bullpens. But then he felt stuck. His progress was at a plateau, that is until he and pitching coordinator Justin Lehr turned on the tape.
"Me and Justin Lehr started watching some videos and I noticed something with my posture in my throwing mechanics," Webb said in a recent phone interview with NBC Sports Bay Area. "I was kind of bent over more than I wanted to be. I really started working on that and having better posture, and ever since that it feels back to normal again.
"It was just a little tiny switch, and since then I’ve been feeling good."
This wasn't about adding a new pitch or changing his grip. The problem was quite common actually. In reality, it's a fix that I myself could use to avoid trips to the chiropractor while working from home.
Webb went on to talk about how he believes having better posture is incredibly important. Whether you're a pitcher, hitter or everyday worker, it can be life-changing. Literally. For the young Giants pitcher, he quickly noticed the difference.
"Just a little more upright when I’m starting to go down the mound," Webb explained. "Honestly, you just feel stronger in general."
Buster Posey could see the difference right away, too. The veteran catcher was highly impressed by Webb's first bullpen against live hitters on the second day of Summer Camp, saying the showing was "really, really good."
"His stuff was electric," Posey said to reporters. "I thought a tick or two up from the spring."
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Webb dominated in the minor leagues last season, going 2-4 with a 1.85 ERA over 12 appearances (10 starts). He then made his MLB debut in August at only 22 years old and went 2-3 with a 5.22 ERA in eight starts. Before spring training came to a stop, Webb got only two starts in and was determined to prove himself once the season resumed.
His first impression couldn't have gone much better, and Posey's words went a long way.
"Hearing that he said that was cool, and he said he was excited when we were done," Webb said. "When you hear that from one of the best to ever do it, it’s pretty cool.”
The Rocklin native said he and Shaun Anderson joked about the number of bullpens they've thrown the past few months. Webb counted he has thrown at least 20 or 22, but was excited to finally face hitters. On Wednesday, Webb was among the group of pitchers who took the hill in the Giants' first intrasquad game and he continued to impress.
Over two innings pitched in the simulated game, Webb struck out four batters and only allowed one hit. Among the eight Giants pitchers on the day, he easily was near the top performers.
"Logan Webb continues to impress with the shape of his breaking ball and in the fastball and a lot of confidence," manager Gabe Kapler said to reporters.
Kapler has big plans for Webb this season, too. Going into the year, it was expected Webb would be on an innings limit. There even was the real possibility he started the season back in Triple-A Sacramento to monitor his workload. With the 162-game season out the door, plans have completely changed.
The 60-game season actually could be perfect for the right-hander. He certainly was looking forward to his first full season in the big leagues and was preparing to do so. But Kapler's biggest emphasis right now is on pitchers who can adapt, pitch multiple innings and be effective as either a starter or reliever.
That sounds perfect for Webb. There's no playbook for this sprint of a season, and he's ready for any role.
"I’m willing to do anything," Webb said. "... That mentality that I do have, I do feel like this could be the perfect situation."
Webb spent two seasons in Short-Season Class-A with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. He last did so in 2017 and had a 2.89 ERA in 15 games as a reliever. To get ready for such a, well, short season, Webb is using his experience with the Volcanoes.
"It is a sprint and you have to take every game seriously," Webb said. "It’ll be fun because every game will feel like a playoff game. You’re going to have to win every single game. I don’t really know what to expect for it, but all I know is I’m excited for it.
"I’m one of the most competitive people ever. That excites me. I’m excited for that."
While he has come a long from Salem-Keizer, that competitive edge always has been there for Webb. It certainly will be this year as the Giants look to shock many in the short season, and the pitcher never has felt stronger thanks to a simple fix of bettering his posture.