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2015 Yankees Roster Report Card: Tyler Webb

The big lefty dominated the minor leagues and looked to be in line for a promotion to The Show in 2015 until injuries ended his season prematurely.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Grade: B+

2015 Stats: 25 G, 2.84 ERA, 3.24 FIP, 38.0 IP, 40 H, 11 BB, 41 SO, 4 HR, 1.342 WHIP

2015 Roster Status: Triple A/Non-40

Even if he never throws a single pitch in the big leagues, Tyler Webb already owns a remarkable baseball career.

By the time the Yankees selected Webb out of the University of South Carolina in the 10th round (314th overall) of the 2013 amateur draft, the supersized southpaw was the Gamecocks' all-time leader in appearances (110). Webb saved 17 games his senior year en route to spots on the all-SEC second team and the All-America third team. He anchored South Carolina's bullpen during their College World Series victories in 2010 and 2011, sporting a 0.75 ERA over 25.0 postseason innings.

Taken by Cincinnati in the 48th round after the 2011 season, Webb turned away the Reds in hopes of furthering his draft stock. That's exactly what happened. Nabbed by the Yankees two years later, Webb signed quickly and reported to Staten Island. After just five innings, in which he held his opposition hitless while striking out eight, it was clear Webb belonged with the big boys. The Yanks bumped him to Charleston where he rounded out his first pro season with aplomb. In 30.1 innings spread over 16 appearances, Webb struck out 40 while yielding just 24 hits and 6 walks. His lone bugaboo was the home run—Webb allowed four longballs, which inflated his ERA to 3.86.

The Yankees could afford to be aggressive with Webb, a four-year college player. He began 2014 in Tampa, where he annihilated his competition by punching out 17 in 13 innings and surrendering just 7 hits. Before April's end, Webb joined the Thunder in Double-A.

There, for the first time, Webb faced a bit of adversity. Though his strikeout to walk figures remained excellent (35.2 IP, 51 SO, 14 BB), Webb's ERA ballooned to 4.04. However, a quick look at his FIP (2.65) is enough to assuage concerns.

About halfway through his second pro season, the Yanks pushed him to Scranton. At 23 years of age, Webb was more than four years younger than the average Triple-A player. However, his youth was not an issue for Tyler. In 20.0 innings with the RailRiders, Webb struck out 26, allowed 17 hits and seven walks, and pitched to an ERA of 4.05, which again outpaced his FIP (3.76). The Yankees rewarded Webb's performance with a spot on the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League.

There was a real possibility that 2015 would be Webb's breakout year. He earned an invite to big league spring training, where he provided scoreless innings versus the Phillies and the Astros. However, after a poor performance on March 11th against the Red Sox, in which the lefty allowed a pair of runs on three hits, Webb was reassigned to minor league camp.

In his second go-around with Triple-A, the 6'6" Webb was immediately comfortable. Tossing 38.0 strong innings, he maintained a 2.84 ERA while striking out 41 against 11 walks. Webb was impressive for an organization that desperately needed consistency from the back end of its big league bullpen. Unfortunately, this might have been the rare occasion where being a lefty actually hurt Webb's promotion chances. The Yankees had two superb left-handers in Andrew Miller and Justin Wilson that secured the late innings all season long. Chasen Shreve demarcated himself with a strong showing early in the year, and besides, he was already on the 40-man roster. When Miller went down in late May, Webb was stuck in line behind top draft pick, and fellow lefty, Jacob Lindgren. Still, if he kept chugging along in Scranton, he'd surely get his shot.

Sadly, that opportunity never came. Midway through the season, Webb hit the DL with a tendon injury to his throwing hand. Just 25 games in, his season was over.

Assuming he's healthy, I fully expect Webb to be in the mix next year. We saw a vast quantity of young relievers make their debuts for the Yankees in 2015, and while most of them were righties, production supersedes handedness. Again, Webb will likely join the big club for Spring Training, open the year in Triple-A, and fight for a spot on the 40-man roster. Again, he's stuck behind Miller and Wilson, as well as probably Shreve, Lindgren, and James Pazos, who showed the Yanks something last September. Still, Webb is an enormous man (we know how much the Yankees love tall pitchers) who has generated enormous production in the minor leagues.

Webb is the rare gigantic reliever that doesn't throw flames. He'll sit at 91-92 mph with his fastball, though he can run it up to 94. He's mostly a fastball/changeup hurler, though he's developed his slurvy slider to the point where it's become at least Major League average. He tosses his offspeed anywhere between the mid-70s and the mid-80s. The slower it is, the more deceptive Webb becomes. With his hulking frame, he releases the ball right on top of the batter.

Tyler Webb shot through the Yankees' system like a ruffled gamecock entering the ring. Although injuries limited his playing time in 2015, he will be just 24 years old next season. If he continues to produce in the minors, I'd be surprised if we didn't see Webb in pinstripes at some point in 2016.