Tyler Webb stands atop the mound towering at 6-foot-6 with a calm demeanor. He kicks, deals and strikes a batter out to get out of a jam. He walks back to the dugout with the same manner as if he struck out the side. The tall southpaw isn’t a stranger to pressure-filled innings.
“I pitched in front of big crowds before. It’s just baseball. It’s all the same but a little better competition at each level,” when asked about his noticeable poise on the hill.
His calmness and the success on the mound have allowed the Yankees to quickly move the lefty up their organizational ranks. Prior to being a 10th round draft pick in last year’s draft, the Nassawadox, Virginia native was among the leaders in saves in the SEC in 2013. The University of South Carolina product was vital in the back-end of the bullpen in the Gamecocks back-to-back College World Series Championships in 2010-11. Webb was so dominant; he didn’t allow a run in three seasons in Omaha where the College World Series is held every year.
After South Carolina failed to three-peat, Webb quickly packed his belongings and headed to Short-Season Staten Island to begin his professional career. His stay wasn’t long, appearing in four games before returning to the Palmetto State.
Webb finished the campaign as a member of the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs and pitched in a state and ballpark he was familiar with early in his career. “I had some friends who lived in Charleston so it was good to have familiar faces around,” he said. “It was nice to be so close to where I was staying my first summer in pro ball and it worked out well.”
The 24-year-old has recently turned heads in the Bronx continuing to toss scoreless innings with steadiness that comes natural at whatever level he is at. Now in Triple-A, it marks his third different level within the organization this season, and his fifth total in just two rapidly skyward seasons. The extensive amount of new scenery and being the “new guy” in the clubhouse hasn’t intimidated him.
“It’s not bad,” he said sitting in front of his locker with the same calmness he possesses on and off the field. “The worst part is learning everyone’s name and not stepping on anyone’s toes,” he said. “You meet a lot of new people and I’m learning a lot from all the different pitching coaches. Once you get to know everyone, it’s a pretty easy transition.”
Such an easy transition, he has not allowed a run in nine of ten outings since his Triple-A debut and also paces the Yankees farm system with 11 saves. With his success at an accelerated rate, Yankees GM Brian Cashman voiced that the southpaw is one of the young arms that might deserve a call-up. Yet, Webb isn’t paying much attention to that. “Once you start worrying about that you can get yourself in trouble looking too much in the future,” he said. “Focus on what you can control and what you can’t control, let it work itself out.”
With the emergence of Webb, it adds to the notion that the Yankees are beginning to develop young arms. Dellin Betances is the most recent product, albeit not the cleanest or easiest route to the majors. Nonetheless, he was an All-Star this year and one of the most dominating relievers this year. With a handful of young arms sprinkled throughout their farm system, most notably Luis Severino, Ian Clarkin, Jacob Lindgren and the addition to Webb, it provides a glimpse of what could come for Yankees fans as they are in the process of developing young, exciting arms that can contribute in the Bronx.