We all know that Jered Weaver is among the better pitchers in the league. He as posted an ERA of 3.01 or better each of the past three seasons, while putting up a WHIP of 1.07 or lower. How can you expect anything but greatness once again in 2013… It actually is more realistic the you might think.
First, let’s take a look at his 2012 numbers:
142 Strikeouts (6.77 K/9)
45 Walks (2.15 BB/9)
79.2% Strand Rate
The first thing to realize is that, despite what people want to believe, Weaver simply isn’t a good source of strikeouts. He had one big season (9.35 K/9 in 2010), but for his career he has a 7.63 mark. Could he improve on last seasons’s mark? We would like to think so, though there is no guarantee.
His fastball averaged just 87.8 mph last season, as compared to 89.1 mph the year before. Last seasons’ back issue could be the culprit, but who knows. For a pitcher that never dominated with velocity before, it is a bit of a concern.
You also have a pitcher that was extremely lucky. As it is you would red flag the BABIP as unsustainable, but it is even worse when you take into account a 21.1% line drive rate. We can’t blame the injury, as he was just as bad in the first half (21.3%) as the second half (21.1%).
While he hasn’t been hit that hard in recent seasons, he has had extraordinary luck (.250 BABIP and 82.6% strand rate in 2011). Is it impossible that he continues to get so lucky? No, it’s not, and maybe part of it is skill. That said, it is far from something that anyone should be depending on.
Yes, he has pinpoint control, but it is hardly enough pitching in the American League. He’s not going to have elite strikeout numbers. We have to think that the luck is going to regress, whether he improves his velocity or not. If he also can’t reduce his line drive rate, the results could ultimately get ugly.
Is he going to post a 4.50 ERA? I wouldn’t predict that, but if i had to make a “wild prediction” (which actually isn’t too wild) a number in the 3.75 range would be where I’d slot him. Considering the investment you have to make to get him, that risk makes it not worth the draft pick.
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Make sure to check out all of our 2013 projections: