One of the Dodgers top pitching prospects is 21-year old Allen Webster. The right-handed hurler was born in Madison, North Carolina and currently plays for the Dodgers AA affiliate the Chattanooga Lookouts.
He was selected in the 18th round of the 2008 MLB draft by the Dodgers, and began his professional career with the Gulf Coast Dodgers that same year. After Dodger coaches corrected a discovered flaw with his mechanics, Webster quickly gained success in the minors and moved up within the farm system.
“I spent a lot of time last year working with the pitching coaches,” Webster said. “I worked on my mechanics and changed my delivery a little so that I could repeat it, so that it was the same every time I threw.”
The 6’3″ 185 pounder pitched for the Arizona League Dodgers in 2009, and in 2010 he was promoted to the single A Great Lakes Loons. He finished his 2010 season with a 12-9 record, a 2.88 ERA, and 114 strikeouts in 26 games (23 starts). In 2011 he started 9 games with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes before he was promoted to the Lookouts during the middle of the season. He was 5-2 with a 2.33 ERA with the Quakes, but his ERA rose to 5.04 with the AA Lookouts where he finished with a 6-3 record in 17 starts. Webster will most likely play with the Lookouts most of the 2012 season, but he may see some time in Dodger blue sometime in the near future.
Webster has great command, and his changeup is the best among the Dodgers pitching prospects. He has worked on his velocity and throwing motion with coaches since his velocity was lower than expected at first after he was drafted. The results from these mechanical corrections and work with the coaching staff were evident in 2011 when his strikeout % increased while his walk % decreased from the year prior. He struggled a bit with his control once he got to AA in Chattanooga and allowed some homeruns and earned runs to some of the more seasoned players in the Southern League.
Webster is a converted high school shortstop, so he will need some more experience although he does show confidence on the mound. He has a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a slider, curveball, and a change-up. Baseball America listed Allen Webster as the Dodgers #2 prospect behind Zach Lee in their annual report. We will keep track of Webster’s season for 2012 along with the other Dodgers prospects. If all goes right, we may see a rotation with Webster and Eovaldi pitching behind Clayton Kershaw in the next couple of years.