The Rangers are being very careful with righty Brandon Webb, restricting him to long toss every three days until his arm strength is at a sufficient level.
Analysis: The 2006 NL Cy Young Award winner has not pitched in a big league game since April of 2009, and his rehabilitation from shoulder surgery has been an arduous process. Because of this, noone should be surprised that Texas is handling Webb with kid gloves. It should not be a shocker either that pitching coach Mike Maddux has stated that Brandon may not be on the active roster come Opening Day against Boston. With the offseason loss of Cliff Lee, the Rangers are depending on Webb to give them a respectable number of starts this year. The last thing they’re going to do is rush him along.
Projection: Although this news should not be unexpected for someone who hasn’t seen a Major League mound in almost two full years, it is still disheartening to Fantasy owners who have their eye on Webb. Aside from mild soreness, he said that he feels fine following his long toss sessions thus far in camp. This is a good sign, but until Webb faces live hitters it is tough to speculate where he really is. His surgery was serious, but so were his numbers prior to being shelved. A 22-game winner in his last full season, Webb averaged 33 starts a year between 2003-08, twice leading the NL in games started. The three time All-Star also finished runner-up in Cy Young voting the following two seasons after he took the award home. Before surgery, Webb was one of the best pitchers in the game on a consistent basis. The Rangers would be happy with him being half the man he used to be, and Fantasy owners looking for a bargain are doing the same. In a well-informed league, Webb will be far from a sleeper pick. However, because of the obvious risk involved, he may not hit the board for a while. Monitor his progress throughout the next several weeks, and keep his name in your back pocket in the meantime.