Baseball BeatMarch 15, 2004
Richard's Prior
By Rich Lederer

Some people in the baseball community have suggested that I may be stalking Jered Weaver. Truth of the matter, Weaver is stalking Mark Prior.

If the former University of Southern California ace is the king of college pitchers as many have claimed, then let the record show that Weaver is on pace to dethrone him.

The similarities are startling. Both were born and raised in Southern California. Jered hails from Simi Valley and Mark is from San Diego.

Both come from athletic families. Jered's older brother, Jeff, is a pitcher with the Dodgers and his cousins, Jed and Dan, play football for the 49ers and the University of Oregon, respectively. Mark's father, Jerry, played football at Vanderbilt; his sister, Millie, played tennis at San Diego; and his brother, Jerry, played tennis at Villanova.

Both pitchers are tall righthanders. Weaver is 6'6" and 200 pounds. Prior is 6'5" and 220 pounds. Both pitchers throw a fastball, curveball, and a change-up. Both pitchers have pinpoint control. And both pitchers have very impressive resumes.

Mark Prior

  • Player of the Year
  • First Team All-American
  • Selected #2 in the 2001 Draft by the Chicago Cubs

    Jered Weaver

  • College Baseball Player of the Summer
  • First Team All-American
  • Potential #1 Pick in the 2004 Draft

    The following is a season-by-season comparison of Prior and Weaver.

    Freshman Seasons:

               IP     H    R   ER   BB   K     W-L
    Prior     82.1   107  56   42   23   71    4-8   
    Weaver    92.2    80  46   45   32   74    8-4
                 H/9    BB/9   K/9    K/BB   ERA
    Prior       11.7    2.5    7.8    3.1    4.59
    Weaver       7.8    3.1    7.2    2.3    4.37

    Prior earned 1999 Freshman All-American second team honors from Baseball America while pitching at Vanderbilt. Mark pitched a complete-game victory against West Virginia and had a season-high 10 strikeouts in seven innings against Mississippi.

    Weaver was honorable mention Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball. Jered struck out seven and walked two over seven shutout innings to eliminate Cal State Fullerton in the NCAA Regional.

    Sophomore Seasons:

               IP     H    R   ER   BB   K     W-L
    Prior     136.1  126  70   54   46   150   10-7   
    Weaver    133.1   87  35   29   20   144   14-4
                 H/9    BB/9   K/9    K/BB   ERA
    Prior        8.3    3.0    9.9    3.3    3.56
    Weaver       5.9    1.4    9.7    7.2    1.96

    Prior was named to the Pac-10 honorable mention list. He led the team in innings and strikeouts. Mark also pitched for the USA National Team that summer, going 3-2 with a 1.60 ERA in six starts.

    Weaver was named co-Big West Pitcher of the Year and was a first team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America. He ranked third nationally in wins, seventh in strikeouts, and 16th in ERA. Jered also ranked third in Runs Saved Above Average (adjusted for ballpark and competition) in Craig Burley's statistical evaluations.

    In addition, Weaver was named Baseball America's Player of the Summer. He had a record-low 0.38 ERA for Team USA and threw 45 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, not allowing a run until the Gold Medal loss to Cuba.

    Junior Seasons:

    Mark Prior's 2001 Game Logs (through 3/14/01):

    DATE       OPP               IP   H   R   ER   BB   K   W/L
    31-Jan     Santa Clara       1    1   0   0    1     2  N/A
    3-Feb      Louisville        5    3   0   0    0    10   W
    9-Feb      at LB State       7.1  4   2   2    1    10   W
    16-Feb     at UCLA           7    2   1   0    1    12  N/A
    23-Feb     Miss St           6    4   3   2    2     9   W
    3-Mar      at Houston        8    9   3   3    0    10   W
    9-Mar      at Stanford       7.1  8   2   2    1    13   L
    Totals                      41.2 31  11   9    6    66  4-1

    Jered Weaver's 2004 Game Logs (through 3/14/04):

    DATE       OPP               IP   H   R   ER   BB   K   W/L
    6-Feb      at California     7    3   0   0    0     6   W
    13-Feb     USC               7    2   1   1    1    14   W
    20-Feb     Baylor            7    6   1   1    1    10   W
    27-Feb     at Houston        7    3   1   1    1    10   W
    5-Mar      BYU               7.2  2   1   1    1    15   W
    12-Mar     UCLA at SD        8    1   0   0    1    15   W
    Totals                      43.2 17   4   4    5    70  6-0
                 H/9    BB/9   K/9    K/BB    ERA
    Prior        6.7    1.3    14.3   11.0    1.94
    Weaver       3.5    1.0    14.4   14.0    0.82

    Prior turned in one of the most dominating seasons in college baseball history, becoming only the second player to sweep every national player of the year award. He was a first team All-American and was also one of the five finalists for the Sullivan Award, only the fourth baseball player ever to reach that level. Mark was third in the nation in ERA (1.69) and strikeouts per nine innings (13.2).

    Weaver has been named the Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week three times (and will likely receive a fourth honor for his eight-inning, one-hit, 15-strikeout masterpiece vs. UCLA last Friday). He has had five consecutive games of 10 or more Ks, including 15 twice. Jered leads the nation in strikeouts and wins, and is seventh in ERA according to


    The two pitchers had similar freshman seasons, the Long Beach State 49er eclipsed the USC Trojan in their sophomore campaigns, and Jered is on pace to equal or better Mark's outstanding junior year.

    Weaver, who still has his work cut out for him to match Prior over the full schedule, is expected to start 11 more games during the regular season and perhaps one or more in the playoffs.

    My advice to Prior:

    "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."

    Satchell Paige, How to Keep Young
    Collier's, June 13, 1953

  • Comments

    Great articles. I am fascinated by these performances and to see if Jered can continue this.

    I am a new Long Beach resident, live 10 blks from the stadium, and will be going to see on of the games.

    Do you know if he is pitching this weekend? How do you find the SP listings? Thanks.

    I've been wanting to see JW pitch, too, and am a CSULB alum. You can get tix here:

    Hi, John. According to this morning's Press-Telegram, Weaver's next start is scheduled for Thursday night in the first of a three-game series vs. Arizona at Blair Field in Long Beach.

    In his latest Down on the Farm column at, John Sickels takes on a question about Jered Weaver and how he compares to Mark Prior:

    "As for Jered Weaver, I will talk more about the approaching draft in upcoming articles. The Long Beach State ace looks like a top five pick so far this year. Prior comparisons are unfair at this stage of the game; neither his stuff nor his command are quite as good as Prior's were, but Jered compares favorably to his older brother at the same point in their careers. In his first six starts this year, Weaver has a 0.82 ERA and a 70/5 K/BB ratio in 44 innings. He's a leading candidate for college player of the year. Weaver works in the low-to-mid-90s, has a slider and curveball, and excellent command."

    Click here for a direct link


    You mentioned Craig Burley's outstanding study, and for the benefit of your readers here's how the two pitchers rated higher than Jared did in 2003:

    Jeff Niemann RHP Rice:
    137.1 IP, 1.70 ERA, 6.3 H/9, 2.3 BB/9, 10.2 K/9, 4.4 K/BB, 0.4 HR/9

    John Hudgins RHP Stanford:
    165.1 IP, 2.99 ERA, 7.5 H/9, 1.9 BB/9, 7.8 K/9, 4.1 K/BB, 0.7 HR/9

    Hudgins was drafted in the third round by Texas last year, which looks like a pretty smart pick.

    Neimann, on the other hand, is struggling so far this year. His ERA has ballooned to 4.43, and his peripherals are even worse. Still, it's hard to believe he's still not a solid talent worthy of a high draft pick. It's 28 innings, after all.