How one high school game changed the trajectory of Webb’s life originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
ROCKLIN — If you walk down 3rd Street, cross the muni tracks, make your way past the famous Willie Mays statue, and crane your neck toward the sky, you will find yourself looking at an immense poster of Logan Webb, hung just underneath the clock at the main entrance to Oracle Park.
Webb is the latest in a line of homegrown face-of-the-franchise types the Giants have developed, and it was an easy decision to make his image the one that greets Giants fans this season. But on one of the biggest days of his career, Webb was an afterthought for most Major League Baseball employees in attendance.
Webb pitched the division-clincher for the Giants last season, the first and last games of the National League Division Series, and opening day this season, but no matter how his career turns out, he will always remember a win over Granite Bay High School as one of the most influential moments of his time in baseball. There were dozens of scouts in attendance that day, just about every last one there to see Granite Bay right-hander Mitch Hart.
Webb was a good pitcher, too, but Hart was a local star committed to USC. He was a potential top 100 pick that spring and was the one drawing attention ahead of the upcoming draft, and nearly a decade later, Webb still remembers every bit of the scene in the first inning as the top two teams in the league faced off.
“I get out there to throw my first (warm-up) pitch and I remember looking back there and all the scouts are kind of talking to each other. They weren’t really watching me,” Webb said on “Homegrown,” a special that airs on NBC Sports Bay Area on Aug. 2. “But there was this one — I remember one vividly. I can’t (remember) which scout it was, but I remember one scout put the gun up. I threw my first warm-up pitch (and) on my next warm-up pitch, everybody back there had their guns up. I’m talking, the entire group had their guns up.”
With a couple of loud pops, the 17-year-old caught the attention of every team in MLB. By the end of the afternoon, he had shot up draft boards.
Webb was a two-sport star at Rocklin, leading the baseball team while quarterbacking the football team, but if you had sat down with him before that May 5, 2014 game, you would have heard a very different life plan than the one that has played out.
A Cal Poly commit, Webb had no thoughts of being drafted high enough to consider professional baseball. He hoped to attend Cal Poly and try and compete for a College World Series title at some point. The ultimate plan was to be a firefighter, not pitch in the big leagues, and certainly not pitch for his hometown team.
That all started to change against Granite Bay, when Webb and Hart combined to allow just three hits in a game Rocklin won 1-0. The two had been teammates or opponents in various leagues in the Sacramento suburbs since they were nine years old, and Webb had followed from a few miles away as scouts flocked to Hart’s final appearances for Granite Bay. In one of Webb’s final appearances for Rocklin, that proved to be a huge benefit.
With the draft a few weeks away, Webb got a chance to pitch in front of area scouts, cross-checkers and scouting directors who had come to watch Hart. Webb remembers everyone flocking to the other side to watch Hart warm up before the game. One college coach walked over to watch Webb.
“It looked like a firing squad behind the backstop because there were so many scouts out there with their guns up,” said Roc Murray, Webb’s high school coach.
Part 1 of “Homegrown”. Why Giants’ Webb loved to deliver big hits as a high school QB
Webb got his chance in the bottom of the first, and he kept lighting the radar guns up the rest of the game. Webb struck out six that day, allowing just one hit in a big win. When the game was over, he went and found his parents, who had spent the entire game meeting scouts.
“My mom was like, ‘Honey, do you know how hard you were throwing today?'” Webb recalled. “I was like, ’92-93 (mph).’ She was like, ‘You were four to six today — 94-96 today.’ I looked at her — and you should never say this to your mom — I was like, ‘Shut up mom. There’s no way.'”
The velocity had opened so many eyes early in the game that Webb’s parents barely got to watch him pitch. Erik Webb, Logan’s father, remembers two dozen scouts introducing themselves over the course of the game, all eager to get a meeting with the young right-hander who had been relatively unknown before he started hitting 96 mph.
One scout from a team that would later consider Webb in the top couple of rounds walked up to Erik during the game and admitted, “I’m embarrassed.”
“He just said, ‘I’m really sorry that this is the first time that I have ever had a chance to talk with you or meet with you,'” Erik said.
“By the fourth or fifth inning, Erik and I both had a line of guys standing there saying, ‘How do I not know about him? I’m going to get fired,'” Christie Webb added.
The rest of that night was a blur for the entire Webb family. Logan remembers going to a sushi restaurant for dinner and barely eating because he was on his phone the entire time. They went to a grocery store and the phone calls continued as scouts tried to set up in-person interviews with Logan.
“It was the most insane two weeks of just interviews, multiple interviews every single night,” Christie said. “And then we sent him off to Houston to do a tryout (and) San Francisco and Seattle.”
RELATED: Webb recalls hilarious story about moment Giants drafted him
Within four days of the Granite Bay game, Logan had an advisor for the draft. His parents had been pretty sure that all of their lives had just changed with one eye-opening start and confirmation came a few weeks later, when the Giants snagged Logan in the fourth round.
The Giants actually ended up drafting Hart, too, taking a flyer on a local kid with a strong college commitment with their 35th-round pick, as teams often do. Hart attended USC and made 28 starts over the next three years, but he wasn’t drafted a second time. He made a huge impact on Webb and the Giants, though.
“To this day I still tell Mitch, like, ‘Hey, thank you,'” Webb said. “That was cool. That was a special moment, for sure. I’ll always remember that day.”
Download and follow the Giants Talk Podcast: