HILLSBORO, Kan. Former Tabor College standout pitcher Jacob Webb has realized his dream: pitching in the major leagues. Webb was called up to the Atlanta Braves this past week, becoming the first Tabor pitcher to make an MLB roster.
Webb came to Tabor in 2010 after one semester at Riverside Community College. The Riverside, Calif., native pitched for Head Coach Mark Standiford for two seasons.
During his freshman campaign (2013) Webb went 4-4 for the season and had an incredible ERA of 1.47. Over his 55 innings pitched, he showed great control of his pitches, striking out 50 and walking only 18. He allowed only one home run his entire freshman year.
His sophomore year (2014) Webb continued to throw well. The right-hander completed the season with a record of 11-4 and an ERA of 1.88. Once again, strikeouts were high (129) while walking very few batters (27). He pitched 10 complete games during the 2014 season.
Webb was selected by the Braves in the 18th round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. In 2016 he made 14 appearances between rookie-level Danville and Single-A Rome. During that span, Webb had a combined ERA of 4.85, and struck out 31 batters in 13 innings. His 21.5 strikeouts per 9 innings were most among the Atlanta farmhands.
In 2017, he set career highs in wins (5), games (38), innings (65.1) and strikeouts (74). During that time, he went 5-2 with a 2.07 ERA between High-A Florida and Double-A Mississippi. Webb ranked in the Top 10 among Atlanta relief prospects in strikeouts (4th), ERA (5th) and hits per nine innings (5th).
During the 2018 season, Webb was 3-4 with a 3.14 ERA while recording 18 saves over a span of 51 games between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett. He was the leader among Atlanta farmhands with 18 saves and ranked third in the system by allowing just 6.0 hits per 9.0 innings pitched. Webb struck out 69 batters in 54.1 innings and has fanned 205 hitters in 166.1 career minor league innings (11.1 SO/9.0 IP).
Webb made his major league debut April 16, 2019. He has appeared in three games so far in his big league career. Webb has pitched 1.2 innings and has allowed only one hit while striking out three batters and walking one. His average pitch speed is 94.4 mph, 1.2 mph above the major league average. He currently has an ERA of 0.00.
Tabor Head Coach Mark Standiford had a lot to say about Webb: “His story is such a great story. He came here as a freshman. He paid his own plane ticket to get here. He tried out and when we saw him, we said we have to have this kid. He worked hard, especially in the off-season. He jumped his velocity up to 91-92. When that happened the pro scouts started coming around.”
Webb said he has the utmost respect for his Tabor coach. “Coach Standiford honestly let me be myself while I attended Tabor College. He didn’t try to force things on me or change who I was, but he guided me when there were ups and downs and showed me what it takes to play baseball at a competitive level.
Standiford said Webb’s work ethic is a big reason he is in the majors. “He had a little setback when he had Tommy John surgery, but he didn’t give up. I talked to him a few times and he said he was working hard and now that hard work has paid off and he is now in the big leagues.”
Having a former player on a major league roster means a lot for Tabor. “It’s huge,” Standiford said. “We preach that every player should have that goal. It’s a goal that’s not attainable for everybody, but it can happen and now we aren’t just saying it because it has actually happened. It’s very big for us and it’s very big for our recruits. If you work hard, you might not be set to be drafted now, but you can be, and that’s what happened with Jacob.”
The Braves reliever reflected on his biggest Tabor highlight. “My highlight at Tabor would have to be going to the College World Series for the first time in school history, Webb said. “I think that set the tone for how much our team really wanted to win and how much chemistry we had when I was there. It was one of the best teams I’ve ever played on.”
In talking with the Tabor Skipper, you can see how pleased he is of his former pitcher. “I can’t be prouder of a baseball player. He represents Tabor so well and for Tabor College to have a guy in the big leagues is something special. He’s a very gifted kid and he was able to put it all together. He deserves all of the credit. He has worked so hard and now he is realizing his dream.”
Webb is thankful for his time at Tabor and the impact it had in his life. “I’m thankful for all my teammates, coaches and staff at the school for helping me through my years at Tabor and making them some of the most memorable years of my life.”