Remember Brandon Webb? Right-handed starter with a wicked sinker who was dominating National League hitters for the Arizona Diamondbacks back in 2006? I bet right now (if you somehow missed the headline) you’re wondering what ever happened to him. Well, today Webb officially retired from baseball after another failed comeback attempt.
The 33-year-old suffered lingering shoulder issues that anyone who ever saw him throw a ball could tell you were in his future. He hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2009.
From 2005-2009 there wasn’t any pitcher in the big leagues more dominant than Webb. He led the majors 70 wins over that time and won the 2006 N.L. Cy Young Award. In that 2006 season Webb posted a 16-8 record with a 3.10 ERA. Then in the following two seasons he went 40-17 while finishing second in the Cy Young voting both years.
But after the 2008 season Webb pitched just four major league innings thanks to shoulder problems.
It’s crazy that someone who was viewed as a dependable workhorse just couldn’t even throw the ball anymore. After tossing 180.2 innings as a rookie in 2003, Webb threw 208, 229, 235, 236.1 and 226.2 innings over the next five seasons. That’s a ridiculous level of consistency and it was followed up with just four innings in 2009 and nothing since.
Webb’s career ERA of 3.27 is incredible considering he pitched in an offensively-charged era. Thanks to the movement on his sinker he was susceptible walks, and that shows in his career WHIP of 1.24. But had he stayed healthy there is little doubt Webb would have remained one of baseball’s elite pitchers.