Is it Legit: Logan Webb and Alec Bohm

Looking into the emergent starter and the scuffling third baseman.

In this week’s edition of Is it Legit, let’s consider what to make of a breakout pitcher and an underperforming hitter in the season’s final weeks.


Logan Webb


In 10 starts since May 11, Logan Webb has gone 5-0, and has posted an outstanding 1.53 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP with 57 strikeouts in 53 innings.  His xFIP (2.68) says he’s largely earned his success during this stretch.  This surprising performance begs the age-old questions: What’s been driving his success and is it sustainable?  Our own Nick Pollack and Luke Hooper from FanGraphs have both done great work looking into the details of Webb’s breakout.  Hooper attributes Webb’s success largely to his sinker.  Webb has added a whopping four inches of drop to his sinker this season, giving it the best vertical movement in the game of baseball.  Nick gushes about how the pitch gets incredible late movement, as well he should.  With a whopping 62.9% zone rate, Webb’s sinker has delivered outstanding results, limiting batters to a 36.9% hard hit rate and generating ground balls 69% of the time.  While the sinker doesn’t generate much swing-and-miss (only a 5.4% swinging strike rate), it’s limited hard contact beautifully, and it closely mirrors the spin of his slider, which has been a lethal strikeout pitch for him (46.0% whiff rate and 30.9% put-away rate).

Marcus Stroman is actually a fairly good comparison for Webb, as the two have similar arsenals, approaches and roughly league-average command and stuff.  Stroman himself isn’t much of a strikeout pitcher and, with an 11.2% swinging strike rate, Webb is actually just a hair below league average when it comes to swing-and-miss.  Granted, he’s generated an impressive 19.3% called strike rate, but look for his strikeout rate to move towards 22-23% rather than the 26% mark he’s sported thus far.

Verdict: Logan Webb has shown that he can thrive off of a sinker-heavy approach that bucks the MLB trend of increasing four-seamer usage.  While his strikeout rate should drop, Webb’s excellent sinker movement helps generate weak contact and his slider command gives him a bona fide put-away pitch.  While a reasonable drop-off from his otherworldly pace is to be expected, fantasy managers will be more than happy to have Webb for the stretch run, making his success legit.


Alec Bohm


With a career-worst strikeout rate (25.9%) and an unimpressive .251/.309/.351 triple slash line, Alec Bohm has not demonstrated the contact skills nor the flashes of plus power from his career in the minors.  The young third baseman has been visibly frustrated often this season and some high leverage errors last week led Joe Girardi to give Bohm a benching/”reset” in recent days.  Earlier this season, Pitcher List’s Chad Young looked into Bohm’s disappointing start to the season, and highlighted his drop in contact on pitches in the strike zone (z-contact) as a primary issue.  As the season has progressed, Bohm’s difficulty hitting fastballs with authority has emerged as his chief issue.  This year, Bohm is hitting just .197 with a .276 slugging percentage against them.  These marks are down drastically from his .344/.505 numbers he delivered in 2020, and are especially concerning when you consider that Bohm is seeing some type of fastball 63% of the time.  Anecdotally, I watch Phillies games regularly and I believe it was Ben Davis who surmised that his difficulties against fastballs derive from not getting set up as soon as he should.  Timing issues, plus the fact that Bohm is facing harder fastballs than he ever has before (94.0 mph average four-seamer) indicates the need for an adjustment.

The silver lining in Bohm’s cloud this season has been that he continues to smoke the baseball, and his hard hit rate is actually up from where it was last season (90th percentile in MLB).  Since June 1, Bohm is hitting .306/.376/.406 with a 9.5% walk rate and a 23.8% strikeout rate.  The plate skills improvement over the course of the season are encouraging, but a lot of Bohm’s outcome improvements are due to having much better batted ball luck (.402 BABIP since June 1, compared to .261 before that).  His power has still been underwhelming (just a .100 ISO), and that mark has been consistent throughout the season, which is what you get when you have just a 21.7% fly ball rate, according to FanGraphs.

Verdict: With Bohm’s struggles seemingly coming from a mechanical issue, and with the season being roughly three quarters of the way complete, I don’t see him making the adjustment this season, so his struggles are legit.  That said, he has a long track record of minor league success and is just one year removed from putting up a Rookie of the Year consideration in the shortened 2020 season, so I do have confidence in him working out the kinks in his approach in the long run.  Because his power currently translates to line drives and doubles rather than homers, he’ll probably be a more valuable real-life hitter than fantasy hitter next season, but he’ll still be worthy of a late-round speculative draft pick.


Featured Image by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter)

Brian Holcomb

Charlotte-based outdoor educator and Philly sports fan whose Pitcher List involvement stems from a decades-long fascination with baseball statistics, trading cards, and debates about player valuation. When not thinking about fantasy baseball, can regularly be found exploring the trails, rivers and rocks of North Carolina.

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