Is Weaver The Next Jake Peavy?
In a previous post, I commented that I thought Jered Weaver would be, in a couple years, comparable to Jake Peavy. I received one comment to the post which stated that I was wrong. David wrote that Weaver's fastball has no movement and hitters have adjusted to Weaver deceptive motion to the plate. I love it when people disagree with me because it gives me something to think about, and possibly something interesting to write about.
I admit, I don't know much about a pitcher's lateral and/or vertical movement on their fastballs. I watch almost every Angels' game and I can tell the difference between good players and average players, but my ability to "scout" players is lacking. I typically rely on stats and general observations to form my opinions. With pitchers I can judge their performances by pitch selection and location, but not by the finer details. So, going back to the question; Is Weaver is going to be just as good as Peavy in a couple seasons? Here's what I found...
Jake Peavy was selected in the 15th round of the 1999 amateur draft out of high school. After spending 4 seasons in the Padre farm system, Peavy made his MLB debut at the age of 21 after being called up from double-A. In his 4 minor league seasons, Peavy compiled a 2.59 ERA in 432 innings with 548 strike outs. Upon reaching the majors at the age of 21, Peavy has gone 86-62 with a career ERA of 3.25...as we all know, he's been a very good pitcher.
Jered Weaver was the Angels' first round pick in the 2004 amateur draft after spending 4 years at Long Beach State. Weaver spent 2 seasons in the minor leagues, throwing just 153 innings (he had 11 IP in 2007 as a rehab assignment). In those 153 innings, Weaver struck out 188 batters. Comparing Weaver and Peavy minor league SO%, Peavy did a little better with a 1.25 K/IP to Weaver's 1.22 although Peavy's numbers came in single and double-A, while Weaver split his time at all three levels. Probably one of the biggest factors when comparing the two pitchers was Peavy was much younger than Weaver during their minor league careers, by the time Weaver was getting his professional career started (age 22), Peavy was already in the major leagues. Here are their stats at age:
The numbers look pretty close. However, as David points out in his comment, this was Weaver's first time through the league while this Peavy's 5th professional season, and third in the majors.
Looks like the league kind of figured Weaver out his second season. Also looks like Peavy stepped it up a bit at age 24, as he posted some excellent numbers.
At age 25, both pitchers appear to have slipped a little. Weaver's ERA is a bit deceiving as his K rate improved, as did his WHIP. It looks like Weaver had one or two bad innings during a start that inflated his ERA, and if I remember right, that was the impression I had watching him pitch last season. He'd be cruising along and then suddenly he'd give up two or three runs. I don't know if he lose focus, lacks a good "out pitch", or possibly he has problems pitching out of the stretch.
Another way to look at this is by season.
That looks really close. The edge in strike outs goes to Peavy, while Weaver showed better control. Peavy had his "break out" year during his third season and has gone on to have four excellent years out of the last five. Could 2009 be Weaver's big year? I would like to think so, but he'll have to pitch better with guys on base. I have to agree with David's comment, unless Weaver is able to take his game to the next level and do better in pressure situations, he's not going to be as good as Peavy, but as of right now, I think it's a lot closer than David realizes.
- If you haven't already heard (I'm sure you have), Francisco Rodriguez signed with the New York Mets. Reportedly K-Rod will get $37M over three years, slightly more than what the Angels had offered earlier this year. I can't say I'm disappointed in seeing him go. If you've been following my comments on Frankie over last season, you'd know I thought he was just an average closer who was in a unique situation as far as his number of opportunities resulting in his record-breaking save total. Who's going to close for the Halo's next season? I'm curious as to why the Angels haven't looked at Kerry Wood who is rumored to be close to signing with Cleveland. From everything I've read the last week or so, he's available at a decent salary and willing to sign for just 2 years. Yeah, he's been inury-prone his entire career, but last year was his first season he was used in relief and he did a good job closing out games for the Cubs. Another plus, the Angels wouldn't lose a draft pick by signing him as the Cubs didn't offer him arbitration. I heard a little talk regarding Brian Fuentes possibly coming to Anaheim, however, he'd cost the Angels just slightly less than what Rodriguez signed with the Mets.
- I have read that Randy Johnson is a possible free agent signing. As I've written before, I think he'd be a great addition to the Halo rotation. Plus it'd be fun to see him get his 300th win as an Angel.
- The longer it takes, the less I think Mark Teixeira is going to return to the Angels. I might just be impatient, but I'm starting to read more about him going to Boston. Add that to the rumor I read this morning that Sabathia has agreed to sign with the Yankees, means the Angels could be shutout of signing one of the two best free agents available. I don't think it's a big deal as there are other players out there (at less money) who could be very useful, but it could be a big blow to the casual Halo fans who want to see the high-dollar names.