Athlete Profile: Brandon Webb

Brandon WebbIf there’s one quality baseball fans are often short on, it’s faith. Even more so, general managers and coaches are guilty of this deficiency. You can see it displayed in the fine print of your local newspaper: so-and-so is sent down to Triple A, while so-and-so is called back up. The phrase “testing the waters” comes to mind when it should probably be “he’ll come around.”

Never has the last expression been more relevant than in the case of Brandon Webb. After having a promising rookie year in 2003, Webb’s following season was horrific, as he lost 16 games as a starter for the Diamondbacks. But the organization was faithful to the talents they witnessed in his rookie year. Come 2005, he was out of his prior slump, posting a 14-12 record. The Diamondbacks rewarded the youngster with a contract extension through 2010.Webb responded to this gesture of loyalty with a phenomenal year in 2006, an overall performance that rivaled the club’s best from the likes of Johnson and Schilling. Finishing with a record of 16-8 and a 3.10 ERA, his consistency not only earned Webb his first All-Star appearance, but more importantly, his first Cy Young Award. In 2007, Webb continued to pile on the accolades, as he threw for 42 1/3 scoreless innings, the 12th longest streak in major league history.

Webb’s ability has not wavered. He currently leads the National League in wins and is the rock of the Diamondbacks’ shaky roster.

Much of Webb’s success can be traced to his fatal two-seam sinker, a pitch that literally antagonizes the batter into making a haphazard swing. Sport Illustrated has called Webb’s sinker arguably the filthiest pitch in baseball and compared it to Mariano Rivera’s cutter, Barry Zito’s curve, and Brad Lidge’s slider.

Imagine, Webb initially wanted to be a rock star. In an ironic twist of fate, it was a wild pitch that hit Brandon on the knuckle, forcing him to quit guitar for the time being. Lacking a hobby, he pursued baseball.

Webb on the Web

ESPN player page for Webb
ESPN page; contains stats and bio.

Rotoworld player page for Webb

Rotoworld page; contains bio, career stats, and updates on Utley’s impact as a fantasy player.

Brandon Webb’s K Foundation
Contains information on his organization that helps chronically ill children in Arizona. Includes bio, news, and event updates.

Latest on Web

Webb is a contender to win the NL Cy Young this season, which would be his second in three years. He currently leads the National League in wins and is one of Arizona’s strongest assets in their playoff pursuit.

News and Commentary

Stack Magazine Interview with Brandon

Webb discusses his workout regimen and pre-game strategy. Webb takes home NL CY Young
This article examines Webb’s 2006 season success. Diamondbacks pull contract extension
Diamondbacks and Brandon Webb don’t agree to terms through 2013.

Webb Says

On when people ask how he throws his sinker

“I’m like, ‘Dude, I hold it on the two seams and throw it.’ It’s basically just my natural arm action.”

On getting over a bad game

“I learned that you need to have a short memory in this sport. After a bad pitch, a bad inning or a bad game, you have to forget about it. That’s one thing I’ve really tried to improve.”

On pre-game butterflies

“I get nervous every time I step on the field,” he says. “If I didn’t get nervous, it would mean I didn’t love what I was doing.”

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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