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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Baseball Analytics: Jered Weaver’s Lack of Zip, Whiffs a Growing Concern

Another Weaver stance deemed outdated?

With a lanky, 6-foot-7 frame and a cross-fire delivery that baffles hitters trying to pick up the ball, Jered Weaver exudes deception. But can Weaver, coming off a 20-win season, keep tricking batters as he enters his thirties and becomes one of the game’s softest tossers? Fangraphs’ Paul Swydan isn’t so sure (ESPN Insider subscription required):

  “Over the past couple of years his velocity—as well as his strikeout and swinging-strike rates—has declined…With his 20s behind him, Weaver is unlikely to see these trends suddenly reverse themselves, and he will become even more reliant on his control and defense.”

Weaver struck out a career-best 25.7% of batters faced in 2010. Since then, his punchout rate his nosedived to 21.4% in 2011 and 19.2% this past season. On a related note, Weaver’s fastball velocity has declined three years running: 89.9 MPH in ‘10, 89.1 MPH in ‘11, and just 87.7 MPH in 2012.

Weaver’s fastball beat out just R.A. Dickey’s and Bronson Arroyo’s in velocity among right-handed starting pitchers last year. Yet, the pitch has defied logic by remaining highly effective despite a gargantuan dip in swings and misses. Let’s take a closer look at Weaver’s not-so-fast fastball, and what that velocity loss could mean for him in 2013.

...Weaver’s lack of zip is concerning. Most pitchers who sit in his new, low-octane velocity range get pummeled. But if ever there were a case where a guy could Houdini his way to another 20 wins, it’s Jered Weaver in 2013.

Repoz Posted: March 24, 2013 at 07:43 AM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, sabermetrics

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   1. BDC Posted: March 24, 2013 at 10:09 AM (#4395223)
Somewhat underplayed in TFA is the fact that 2010 was an outlier in his own career: Weaver led the league in strikeouts with a K rate of almost 2 more per nine innings than the rest of his career.
   2. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: March 24, 2013 at 11:54 AM (#4395239)
I'm a Weaver fan. Over the last 4 years the kid has started 130 games and pitched about 215 innings a year. Perhaps if he cut down on the bong, he'd pick up that 1-2 MPH.
   3. Halofan Posted: March 24, 2013 at 02:24 PM (#4395306)
Popups. He gets a lot of Popups. Perhaps he can control that.
   4. Chase Insteadman Wannabe Posted: March 24, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4395330)
When Mike Trout is only the second best defensive outfielder behind you, getting Popups is a pretty damn good idea. Usually I get paranoid about starters losing substantial heat from their fastball, but Weaver seems like a good bet to handle the drop. I wouldn't bet on him finally getting a Cy Young Award, but if I was an Angels fan I would still feel confident about his contract.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: March 24, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4395365)
BDC pretty much nails it. It's 2010 that was the K-rate outlier. 2012 was his lowest in a while but things look pretty steady. It does look like he got BABIP lucky last year -- he led the league in WHIP with his typical walk rate and a lower K rate -- but it's not like he'd look bad with a higher one. It's obviously possible, even likely, his best days are behind him but I don't see an obvious reason to think he can't be Tim Hudson -- 1000 IP, 125 ERA+ from 31 to 36.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: March 24, 2013 at 07:42 PM (#4395464)
And just cuz .... obviously one of these guys has a pretty big advantage going forward, but, MLB to date:

Weaver: 1320 IP, 128 ERA+, 102-52, CYA 2nd, 3rd and 5th (7 seasons)
Felix: 1620 IP, 127 ERA+, 96-76, CYA 1st, 2nd and 4th (8 seasons)
   7. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: March 24, 2013 at 08:53 PM (#4395513)
Wait, Jered Weaver is 6-foot-7?

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