Baseball BeatJune 07, 2004
Weaver-Prior Revisited
By Rich Lederer

How scary are these numbers?

             IP    H   R   ER   BB     K    W-L
Prior     138.2  100  32   26   18   202   15-1   
Weaver    136.1   76  29   25   19   201   15-1
             H/9    BB/9    K/9    K/BB     ERA
Prior        6.5     1.2   13.1    11.2    1.69
Weaver       5.0     1.3   13.3    10.6    1.65

Mark Prior signed a five-year contract with the Chicago Cubs for $10.5 million in August 2001, which included a $4 million signing bonus and the following annual salaries:

2002: $  250,000
2003: $  650,000
2004: $1,600,000
2005: $2,000,000
2006: $2,000,000

What is the over-under on Weaver? Six, eight, ten or twelve million?

Will Arte Moreno let money get in the way of signing the most accomplished player in the draft? Although I don't think he will get more than what Prior received, I believe the College Player of the Year could still end up getting the biggest contract of all the draftees despite being taken 12th. In any event, the Weaver family has to be elated. Jeff in Los Angeles and Jered in Anaheim.

What is the over-under on Weaver's arrival in the major leagues?

If Long Beach State makes it to the College World Series, Weaver may start four more times before the playoffs are over. At eight innings an outing, that would give him almost 170 for the year. As such, I think there is a good chance that he will either be shut down for the remainder of 2004 once his college obligations are over or he will be given some time off before his pro career begins (most likely at the Double-A level).

ETA: June 2005.

Comments

I'll take 8 million on the signing bonus, and September 2005 as the arrival date.

Does anyone know which day Jared will pitch this weekend vs AZ?

Thanks.

Weaver is scheduled to start on Friday, Ramos on Saturday, and Vargas (if need be) on Sunday.

Thank you. See you on Friday night.

Did anyone catch Stark's column today? Called any comparison between Prior and Weaver "laughable".

A "laughable" assertion itself, if you ask me.

I saw that, Patrick. The comparison between Weaver and Prior isn't "laughable" and, in fact, is justified based on their remarkably similar college stats. Although Weaver has equally good command and control, Prior has better stuff and mechanics. If the latter stays healthy, I think he could become a Tom Seaver or Roger Clemens type pitcher.

I compared Weaver to Ben Sheets before the mlb season began and was razzed by a couple of readers who left comments attached to my story, implying that I had wasted my time following Weaver if he was only as good as Sheets. An 18-strikeout game here and a one-hitter there and now it looks like Sheets is one of the very best pitchers in all of baseball.

As far as the scout's comment about stacking the lineup with left-handed hitters against Weaver, I think the two-time, first-team All-American will fare as well or better than most RHP against such hitters. As I wrote in my article dated June 5, 2004, "Jered has impressed me against left-handed hitters owing to his unique ability to throw hard and inside combined with a change that fades away from lefties."

From my article dated May 23, 2004:

"The hard-throwing Weaver has a knack for challenging left-handed hitters inside in a manner that reminds me of a young Frank Tanana, a lefty who could bust a fastball on the hands of right-handed batters as well as anyone Ive ever seen during his heyday in the 1970s. And to think that Weaver is doing so against hitters with aluminum bats says a lot about his confidence."

Weaver may not be as good as Prior, but I bet he ends up being much better than a #4 or #5 starter as the naysayers now predict.

Rich:

Thanks for putting your Weaver-love into perspective. I think the Angels would be very happy to have Ben Sheets in the rotation in 2006.

I don't understand this obsession with velocity. Sure, it's great when you find a guy who throws hard and can pitch with command and control (Clemens, Martinez, Johnson, Prior, the new Jason Schmidt), but it aint everything. How hard does Tim Hudson throw? Or Greg Maddux? Or even young Greinke?

I'll eat this blog if Verlander turns out to be a better major league pitcher than Weaver.

Two words: Frank Coonelly.

There's no chance - none, zero, nada - that Weaver's bonus will approach that of Prior's. The reason is slotting and there's no way Coonelly will let anyone go that far out of slot.

$4M signing bonus, no major league contract, and he'll appear in an Angels uniform in 2005, possibly as late as September.

Assuming he signs (which I have to believe he will).