Born: February 10, 1990
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 190
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 18th Round, 547th Overall, 2008 (Dodgers)
How Acquired: Trade (with Diamondbacks)
High School: McMichael HS (Mayodan, NC)
Agent: Wasserman Media Group


Webster didn’t get much prospect attention as a high school shortstop.  The Dodgers, however, drafted him in round 18 as a pitcher and signed him for $20K.  He soon started moving high up on prospect lists, though, due to a low- to mid-90s fastball with a lot of sink that eventually topped out at 97-98.  He also showed a plus change and a curve.  He’s mostly been an extreme groundball pitcher in the minors, a little less so in the majors.  He’s had a rough time with left-handed hitters in the majors, as they’ve posted a .967 OPS against him, compared to .726 by right-handed hitters.  His platoon splits in the minors didn’t show a consistent pattern.  He’s had command issues at upper levels and also has seen a velocity drop in 2014-15, as well as a more or less complete meltdown in 2015.  The Pirates acquired him from Arizona for cash.

R:  1-1-1, 3.44 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 18.1 IP, 8.3 BB/9, 6.4 K/9

In his debut, Webster appeared in a dozen relief outings and struggled to throw strikes.

R:  2-1-0, 2.08 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 47.2 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 10.6 K/9
R+:  2-0-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 21.0 IP, 1.7 BB/9, 9.0 K/9

The Dodgers sent Webster back to rookie ball, where he mostly started.  His walk and K rates improved dramatically, and he pitched very well in three starts after a promotion to the advanced rookie level before struggling in his last start.  After the season, Baseball America rated him LA’s tenth best prospect and the third best in the Arizona League.

A:  12-9-0, 2.88 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 131.1 IP, 3.6 BB/9, 7.8 K/9

Webster spent the season in the Dodgers’ low A rotation and had a good year, although with less impressive walk and K rates.  BA ranked him as the team’s fifth best prospect after the season.

A+:  5-2-0, 2.33 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 54.0 IP, 3.5 BB/9, 10.3 K/9
AA:  6-3-0, 5.04 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 91.0 IP, 3.6 BB/9, 7.6 K/9

Webster continued to impress in high A, putting up strong numbers, including a very high K rate, in the offense-crazy California League.  He had a lot more trouble in AA, though, over the last two-thirds of the season.  A lot of the trouble may simply have been fatigue, as he pitched reasonably well until opponents torched him for a 1.004 OPS and 9.47 ERA in the season’s final month.  BA rated him the Dodgers’ second best prospect and the 95th best in baseball.

AA (LAD):  6-8-0, 3.55 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 121.2 IP, 4.2 BB/9, 8.7 K/9
AA (Bos):  0-1-0, 8.00 ERA, 1.89 WHIP, 9.0 IP, 4.0 BB/9, 12.0 K/9

Webster spent most of the season with LA’s AA affiliate and didn’t dominate there, walking too many hitters and showing a need to improve his command.  In late August, he went to the Red Sox in the massive salary-dump trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers.  Webster struggled in two starts after the trade, but BA still ranked him as Boston’s fourth best prospect and the 49th best in baseball.  The Sox added him to their 40-man roster after the season.

AAA:  8-4-0, 3.60 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 105.0 IP, 3.7 BB/9, 9.9 K/9
MLB:  1-2-0, 8.60 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, 30.1 IP, 5.3 BB/9, 6.8 K/9

Webster spent the season shuttling back and forth between AAA and the majors.  He pitched fairly well, with a very high K rate, in the minors, but weak command caused him trouble in the majors.  Among other things, he allowed seven HRs in just 30.1 IP.  BA ranked him fourth with the Red Sox and 88th overall after the season.

AAA:  4-4-1, 3.10 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 122.0 IP, 3.2 BB/9, 7.4 K/9
MLB:  5-3-0, 5.03 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 59.0 IP, 4.3 BB/9, 5.5 K/9

Webster spent the first three and a half months in AAA and pitched well there without dominating.  In late July, Boston called him up and he made 11 starts over the remainder of the season.  He didn’t pitch well, but he was much better than the previous year.  His fastball velocity in his time in the majors dropped from 94.4 the previous year to 92.2.  After the season, Boston sent him to Arizona in the trade for Wade Miley.

AAA:  4-6-0, 8.18 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, 77.0 IP, 3.0 BB/9, 7.2 K/9
MLB:  1-1-0, 5.81 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 31.0 IP, 5.8 BB/9, 4.9 K/9

Webster shuttled back and forth between the majors and minors, making 15 starts in AAA, and five starts and four relief appearances for Arizona.  He had a rough time throughout, getting torched for 117 hits in just 77 innings in AAA and giving up a .968 OPS in the majors, with more walks than strikeouts.  His average fastball velocity dropped again to 91.5.  Arizona designated him for assignment after the season and sent him to the Pirates for cash.

The Pirates’ plans for Webster aren’t clear at this stage.  He has no options remaining and has little experience in relief.  It’s hard to imagine that they’d be prepared to go into 2016 with him as a starter after his disastrous 2015 season.  There’s also the matter of his velocity drop, although it’s possible he could regain it working in shorter stints.  Eno Sarris of Fangraphs has written that all three of Webster’s pitches show above-average movement and swing-and-miss trends.  He’ll be an extreme high-risk, high-reward project for pitching coach Ray Searage.

2016: Major league minimum
Signing Bonus: $20,000
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: 4/21/2013
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2022
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/19/2012
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2013, 2014, 2015)
MLB Service Time: 0.157
June 6, 2008: Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 18th round, 547th overall pick; signed on June 11.
August 25, 2012: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers with James Loney, Ivan DeJesus, Jr., Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands to the Boston Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto and cash.
November 20, 2012: Contract purchased by the Boston Red Sox.
December 12, 2014: Traded by the Boston Red Sox with Rubby De La Rosa and Raymel Flores to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Wade Miley.
November 20, 2015: Designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
November 25, 2015: Traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations.