Baseball BeatSeptember 11, 2005
Weav Only Just Begun
By Rich Lederer

Jered Weaver was credited with the victory on Thursday night as the Arkansas Travelers swept the Tulsa Drillers three games to none to win the Texas League's Eastern Division Championship. The Travelers will face the Midland RockHounds, who defeated the San Antonio Missions in a best-of-five series 3-1, for the Texas League Championship beginning Monday.

The Travelers (Angels) and RockHounds (A's) are battling it out just like their parent ballclubs. In addition to Weaver, Arkansas sports future major leaguers Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, and Kendry Morales, while Midland counters with Daric Barton, Dallas Braden, Kevin Melillo, and Jason Windsor, the 2004 College World Series MVP. Windsor (Cal State Fullerton) and Weaver (Long Beach State) know each other well from their days dueling for the Big West championship.

Weaver pitched six innings, allowing a like number of hits, three runs, and two walks, while striking out nine for the third consecutive game. The College Player of the Year in 2004 improved his record with Arkansas to 4-3 and is now 8-4 on the season with a 3.95 ERA.

The 6-foot-7, 205-pound right-hander has had an up and down first year, showing flashes of brilliance and even dominance. However, he has yet to build back his arm strength and has only completed seven innings once this year.

Weaver didn't sign with the Angels until May 30, minutes before he would have been forced to go back in the 2005 First Year Player Draft. He reported to Rancho Cucamonga (High-A) a week later, worked out for about ten days, and made his professional debut on June 20. After struggling in his first three starts, Weaver won four consecutive games while limiting opponents to nine hits, four walks, and six runs (four earned) in 23 2/3 innings. He struck out 36 batters (or more than 1.5/IP) during this streak, capping his California League experience with a seven-inning, one-hit, ten-strikeout performance in a 1-0 win over Inland Empire.

I pieced together the following game logs from the box scores:

           IP   H    R   ER   BB   SO   HR  GO  FO   BF
6/20/05   3.0   3    1    1    2    4    0   2   3   14     --
6/25/05   2.1   5    4    4    0    5    1   0   2   12  (L, 0-1)
6/30/05   4.0   8    7    5    1    4    1   1   6   20     --
7/05/05   5.0   2    2    0    0    7    0   1   7   19  (W, 1-1)
7/11/05   5.2   3    3    3    1    8    1   3   6   21  (W, 2-1)
7/16/05   6.0   3    1    1    1   11    0   3   3   22  (W, 3-1)
7/21/05   7.0   1    0    0    2   10    0   3   7   23  (W, 4-1)   
7/26/05   4.0   7    4    3    1    2    1   3   7   21     --
7/31/05   6.0   3    1    0    2    6    0   2  11   24  (W, 1-0)
8/06/05   5.0   6    4    4    4    6    1   2   7   25  (L, 1-1)
8/12/05   4.0   7    5    5    3    6    2   2   3   21     --
8/18/05   6.2   5    2    2    4    2    0   6  12   29  (W, 2-1)
8/24/05   6.0   4    0    0    1    6    0   1  11   23  (W, 3-1)
8/29/05   5.1   6    4    4    3    9    1   3   4   25  (L, 3-2)
9/03/05   6.0   5    2    1    1    9    0   2   6   24  (L, 3-3)
9/08/05   6.0   6    3    3    2    9    2   5   3   25  (W, 4-3)

Totals 82.0 74 43 36 28 104 10 39 98 348 8-4

Although three of Weaver's first four starts at Arkansas were nothing to write home about, the four-million-dollar man has bounced back in his last five outings to record a 3.00 ERA while striking out 35 batters in 30 innings. In the department of good news/bad news, Weaver has struck out at least one batter per inning in 14 of his 16 starts but has gotten more outs via the air than the ground in all but two starts.

Rate Stats:

 H/9    SO/9   K/BF   BB/9   K/BB    G/F   HR/9   WHIP    ERA
8.12   11.41   0.30   3.07   3.71   0.40   1.10   1.24   3.95

Most impressively, Weaver has struck out 11.41 batters per nine innings, equal to 30% of the batters he has faced this year. However, his 0.40 G/F ratio is off the charts in the other direction. To wit, if Jered had these same stats in the majors this year, he would be the most prolific strikeout and flyball pitcher in the game.


                       K/9     K/BF     G/F
Mark Prior           10.00     .267    0.94     
Jake Peavy            9.98     .278    1.17
Johan Santana         9.24     .259    0.93
John Lackey           8.93     .231    1.37
Pedro Martinez        8.77     .251    0.82
Jason Schmidt         8.61     .218    0.93
Randy Johnson         8.51     .229    1.21
Brett Myers           8.40     .225    1.41
John Patterson        8.38     .227    0.62
A.J. Burnett          8.38     .223    2.60


                       G/F      K/9
John Patterson        0.62     8.38
Scott Elarton         0.65     5.52
Eric Milton           0.67     6.03
Chris Young           0.69     7.62
Cliff Lee             0.75     6.56
Pedro Martinez        0.82     8.77
Bronson Arroyo        0.83     4.62
Woody Williams        0.83     6.13
Tim Wakefield         0.85     5.87
Runelvys Hernandez    0.87     5.22
Ben Sheets            0.87     8.10

I realize the above comparisons are not "apples to apples." They are meant to add perspective in terms of profiling Weaver more than anything else. As an extreme strikeout/flyball type pitcher, Jered most closely resembles John Patterson among today's starters. I hesitate to suggest that his upside could be Mark Prior, but one would have to be oblivious to the facts to think otherwise. His downside appears to be Chris Young. I admit, that's a wide range but they represent reasonable ceilings and floors for Weaver, depending upon whether he makes the proper adjustments or not.

As I have pointed out in the past on more than one occasion, there is no denying that Prior has better mechanics and stuff than Weaver. Nonetheless, their college stats were eerily similar--even when adjusted for competition and park effects--and they both possess good command and control while having the ability to strike out batters.

Weaver, more likely than not, will wind up being somewhere between Prior and Young. Think Patterson or a right-handed Cliff Lee. I even made the case for Ben Sheets 18 months ago and was ridiculed for reaching so low. Well, that was before the product of the University of Louisiana at Monroe (formerly known as Northeast Louisiana University) pitched a one-hitter, struck out 18 batters in another game, and fashioned a 2.70 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 264 Ks during 2004.

Jered's height gives him an advantage by allowing the former two-time All-American the ability to throw on a downward plane. That said, he clearly needs to work at or near the knees more often and preferably add more sink to his two-seam fastball. A power pitcher, Weaver favors his four seamer while mixing it up with his breaking ball and change-up. Like his brother Jeff, Weaver works in the low-90s but his big turn and length can make batters feel as if he is bringing it a couple MPH faster than what the gun says.

The soon-to-be-23-year-old is scheduled to pitch for the Surprise Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League. His teammates will include current Travs Kendrick and Morales as well as his fellow former Quake Brandon Wood, who led the minors in home runs and doubles this year. At the end of August, Morales was ranked first on Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet, Wood was second, and Kendrick fourth.

So much of life ahead
We'll find a place where there's room to grow
And yes, Weav's just begun.


If I'd only known you needed the data, I could have shipped it over to you. I've got all the Angels and Dodgers individual performances in a database now.

That's good to know. Thanks. You're way ahead of me technology-wise. For those readers who wish to get more frequent updates on Weaver (and other Angels and Dodgers prospects), be sure to check Rob's informative and fun-to-read 6-4-2 site on a daily basis. You won't be disappointed.

What do you make of the high h/9. It seems that someone with his polish and k/9 should be giving up less hits, although perhaps his flyball tendencies explain this. Does he have a sinker like his brother? One of the reasons i worry about weaver is that his brother was very successful in college and zipped throught the minors, but then stagnated after a year or two in the majors. How much of a "dissapointment" would Jered be if settled in as a 200inning/4.00ERA type guy?

His H/9 isn't too bad considering that he has pitched in the California and Texas Leagues and both play as hitter rather than pitcher friendly. To illustrate, only six pitchers out of the top 33 in IP in the Texas League have given up less than one hit per inning.

Weaver's batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is .311. I'm not sure how that compares to the average for the two leagues, but it is higher than the norm in MLB. His batting average against (BAA) is .231.

Flyball pitchers typically give up fewer hits than groundball pitchers, partially because they tend to get more strikeouts and also owing to the adage "there are no bad hops in the air."

Weaver doesn't have a sinker per se. He throws a two-seam fastball that tends to have more of a sink to it than his four-seamer.

One can't ignore Jeff as a reasonable comp although I think Jered was even more heralded than his brother in college (and Team USA) and has a bit more upside in him. If he "settled in as a 200 inning, 4.00 ERA type," I think he would be more like Jeff than not. I guess that would be a tad disappointing, at least for the Angels and the team's fans.

minor quibble: Midland won the series w/San Antonio in 5 games, 3-2.

I looked for Daniel Cabrera in the top 10 K/9 IP, but I didn't see him...he has 135 K's for 138 IP, so his K/G should be nearly 10...

Yes, Cabrera has 135 Ks in 138.1 prior to his start on Monday vs. the Texas Rangers. His K/9 actually works out to 8.78. Cabrera would rank fifth if he qualified in terms of number of innings. He fell just short of the one inning per game requirement.

The current top ten can be viewed here.