Baseball BeatApril 30, 2006
Jered Weaver: Good to Go
By Rich Lederer

Speaking of measuring strikeouts per 100 pitches, Jered Weaver is averaging 8.24 K/100P through his first five games at Triple-A Salt Lake City.

Weaver pitched six innings in a game suspended yesterday and resumed today. He actually relieved starter Dustin Moseley, who went just one inning. The tall right-hander faced 23 batters. He threw 90 pitches: 64 strikes and 26 balls. Of the 18 outs, 12 were retired via strikes, two on the ground, and four by air.

Here is Weaver's 2006 game log, complete with batters faced (BF), number of pitches (PIT), strikes (ST), balls (BA), groundouts (G), and flyouts (F).

            IP   H   R   ER   BB   SO   BF   PIT   ST   BA   G   F
4/08 @ TUC   7   2   1    1    0    8   24    83   62   21   5   8
4/13 @ LV    5   9   4    4    0    6   23    91   63   28   1   7
4/19 vs TUC  6   5   0    0    2    6   25   102   64   38   3   8
4/24 @ POR   5   7   5    5    2    6   23    95   58   37   2   7
4/30 @ TAC   6   4   2    1    1   12   23    90   64   26   2   4
TOTALS      29  27  12   11    5   38  118   461  311  150  13  34 

In addition to Weaver's outstanding K/100P, he has K'd 12.7 per nine IP and whiffed 32.2% of the batters faced. The Angels' #1 draft pick in 2004 also has a 7.6 K/BB ratio. The only bone of contention is his low G/F ratio of 0.38. Jered has given up four HR but it's important to note that he's pitched three of his five games in hitter-friendly ballparks. According to the indispensable Baseball Prospectus 2006, Tucson has a park factor of 1099 (or 9.9% above average), Las Vegas 1076, Salt Lake City 1085, Portland 944, and Tacoma 917 for 2003-2005.

I suspect that Weaver is ready to make his major league debut. With Bartolo Colon on the DL and Kelvim Escobar nursing a blood blister, his opportunity may come sooner rather than later. I can't wait.


Wow. Kansas City's Triple A affiliate High Desert isn't one of the top parks in hitting friendliness? I can't believe that. It's one of the craziest parks I've been to.

High Desert is the most hitter-friendly park in the California League, an A-ball club, not AAA. The Royals AAA affiliate is in Omaha, a far more neutral park.

Blargh. I knew it was Advanced A, I don't know why I typed that. I knew Billy Butler didn't make it AAA *that* fast!

I have more on this on my daily roundup. Probably the most compelling thing keeping Weaver off the 25-man roster is

a) the fact that he isn't even on the 40-man yet
b) that the most likely candidates to send down include guys like Esteban Yan, Hector Carrasco, or J.C. Romero, none of whom have earned a demotion (Carrasco has come the closest in his imitation of a starter, though).

I don't think the Angels are going to hold Weaver back because he's not on the 40-man roster. The Halos are going to have to face this fact at some point if they want to bring Weaver up before September.

There are a number of options here. In Bootcheck, Bulger and Jones, the organization has three pitchers born in the '70s who are on the roster and have pitched at SLC. All three are candidates to get traded or DFA'd, if need be. Carrasco, Gregg, and Yan may also be tradeable commodities.

In Nick Gorneault and Tommy Murphy, the Angels have a couple of OF who were born in the '70s and have played at SLC. Either could be traded or DFA'd, if need be. Edgardo Alfonzo may not be worth the problems he is causing, bellyaching about his (lack of) playing time.

The time is approaching when the Angels will have to make room for Weaver. Trading or cutting one of the above players will just come with the territory.

How does Jered's K rate compare to his brother's rate, at this point in their careers and/or at this age?

As one of the commenters on my blog suggested, the problem with unloading Alfonzo is that he represents just about all of the Angels' major-league infield depth at the moment. Having Chone Figgins around to play damn near anywhere on the diamond is a great thing 'n' all, but the requirement to put him on the field every day also means that he spells depth at virtually every position on the diamond. (The Angels' current depth chart shows Reggie Willits as being depth at three outfield spots, and Edgardo Alfonso at second — ahead of Howie Kendrick!)

Given that Willits has for whatever reason climbed above the team's depth chart ahead of Nick Gorneault means they're probably thinking trade for Nick. I doubt we'll see a duplication of 2003's release of Kevin Appier; they held on to Steve Finley, after all, and if you think of Alfonzo as just a continuation of the Finley contract, it makes sense they wouldn't.

To answer the question above about Jered's K rate compared to his brother's, it's clear from looking at his Baseball Cube stats line that Weaver was rushed to the majors. He only pitched for five innings in AAA Toledo before some Tigers genius in player development decided he was ready. That to me is the problem with bringing up Weaver right now; it's only five games. We forget that he's had two games where he gave up nine earned runs in ten innings. The Angels are probably right to wait, but if he keeps posting numbers like these in AAA, they'll find an appropriate victim. I'm pretty confident, though, that Weaver's going to contribute more at the major league level with his arm than Alfonzo will with the bat, and right now.

Alfonzo is a "has been." If the Angels have to eat his salary to make room for someone like Weaver who can help the team win games, then he'll just have to be cut loose.

As far as depth goes, Alfonzo is the back-up at 3B and 2B. Quinlan can handle third and Kendrick is more than adequate for second. I'm not suggesting they cut Alfonzo and am only pointing out that he is not indispensable by any means.

Getting back to Weaver, I'm not sure where you stand on him, Rob. You don't like the idea of bringing him up now, yet say that you are confident that he's "going to contribute more at the major league leavel ... than Alfonzo ... right now." Seems to me you want to embrace him but are afraid of doing so for fear that he doesn't pan out as hoped.

Re bringing up Jered, you've got that right; Alfonzo is done, but it seems that Mike, like so many other major league managers, doesn't see through it. The early returns on Kendrick are good defensively. Yes, I am on the fence; brother Jeff may be an example of rushing a promising prospect.

I still see 2006 as a transition year for the Angels.