Could Cubs Turn to Allen Webster Now That Brandon Morrow Has Been Shut Down?

The name Webster is one with which longtime Cubs fans should be familiar, whether it’s from the Emmanuel Lewis sitcom that ran frequently on WGN or the outfielder acquired from Montreal in exchange for Davey Martinez. And now that they’re officially without Brandon Morrow for the remainder of the season, the Cubs may make like Hollywood and dust off an 80’s staple for another go ’round.

No, Allen Webster wasn’t around for those halcyon days of pre-lights Cubs baseball, but the 28-year-old reliever could offer at least a temporary solution when it comes to filling a hole in the bullpen. A veteran of 120.1 MLB innings and 71 more in KBO, the Cubs signed Webster to a minor league deal in March of this year to serve as organizational depth. He didn’t actually make his debut in the system until July 13 in the Arizona Rookie League, but he quickly moved up to end the season in Triple-A.

Webster has pitched 17 innings in 2018, allowing five earned runs on 18 hits. Yeesh, that doesn’t really do much to offset the womp-womp of his career 6.13 ERA or equally unimpressive 5.68 K/9 and 4.94 BB/9 marks. Ah, but what he’s done more recently in those latter two categories may pique your interest.

With 24 strikeouts and only three walks in his brief action in the Cubs system, Webster looks like one of those strike-throwers Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have long coveted. He’s also played for the Dodgers, Red Sox, Diamondbacks, and Rangers, and we all know how much this Cubs front office loves to acquire players from those organizations. Okay, that last part wasn’t serious. Not completely.

Because he hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2015 and has thrown so little in the last year, in-depth data on Webster’s pitch mix is hard to come by. He really upped the sinker usage over 31 innings with the D-backs in ’15, using the low-90’s offering for just over a third of his pitches. He also has a fastball, change, slider, and curve, the latter of which he’s used very sparingly. None were particularly good previously, though you never know when a grip or approach change may open up new doors.

If the Cubs do bring Webster to Chicago, it’s likely to serve as an emergency stopgap or an innings mop should they lock up the division. Even with Morrow and Pedro Strop out right now, there are several more attractive options in the bullpen already. But, again, there’s always room for a guy who can come in and throw strikes, which Webster has done so far this season.


Ed. note: Many of you are probably wondering about Dakota Mekkes, the big-bodied 23-year-old righty who has dominated at every level of the minors, and why he’s not in play. If the Cubs were going to use Mekkes, they’d have called him up when rosters expanded and not as an emergency option. He is back in East Lansing now to finish up his degree at Michigan State and hasn’t thrown in close to three weeks, but he’ll have every opportunity to break camp with the Cubs next spring.

If you’re interested on a little more about Mekkes, particularly what motivates him and how he’s working to improve, check out our recent interview with him. He’s a really easy guy to root for and Cubs fans should be looking forward to what he’ll bring to the team in the near future.

Back to top button