Jered Weaver enjoyed a career year in 2009 but is he ready to take his game to the next level and become the Angels’ bona fide ace in 2010?
2009 Stats: 211.0 IP, 16-8, 196 H, 66 BB, 174 K, 3.75 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
2010 Bill James Projections: 218.0 IP, 14-10, 210 H, 64 BB, 185 K, 3.67 ERA, 1.26 WHIP
2010 Chone Projections: 180.0 IP, 11-9, 178 H, 54 BB, 145 K, 4.10 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
2010 Marcel Projections: 183.0 IP, 13-9, 179 H, 59 BB, 151 K, 4.03 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
2010 ZiPS Projections: 197.2 IP, 13-10, 200 H, 61 BB, 156 K, 4.33 ERA, 1.32 WHIP
2010 Monkey Projections*: 200.0 IP, 17-10, 190 H, 55 BB, 160 K, 3.60 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
*All stats courtesy of FanGraphs.com except the Monkey Projections which are strictly based on my own knowledge, logic and intuition.
2009 Review: Bobby Abreu and Kendry Morales got a lot of hype as the MVPs of the 2009 Angels, but Weaver might have been even more deserving of that accolade. With a rotation decimated by injuries and tragedy, Weaver was a rock for the Halos, especially in the first half of the season. He likely would have been selected to his first All-Star team as well if not for a rough patch during July, but he was still easily the best pitcher on the entire Angel roster in 2009, thus cementing himself as a vitally important part of the Angels’ future.
3 Questions for 2010:
- Is he ready to lead the pitching staff? Pitching well is only part of the equation when it comes to being a staff ace. Weaver will not only have to continue to perform at a high level but also lead by example now that Benedict Lackey has high-tailed it to Boston. Lackey was fiery competitor and tough as nails leader, something this team definitely needs, so Weaver will have to find some way to bring that same attitude to the staff in his own surfer-dude sort of way.
- Might 2009 have been a fluke? Anytime a player has a career year, this question needs to be asked. A few causes for concern are that Weaver’s BABIP was .288 in 2009 which might be a fluke when you consider his .306 mark in 2008 and .322 mark in 2007. That could just be Weaver getting lucky but it also could be him evolving as a pitcher. We should get the answer in 2010.
- Can he continue to be efficient? One of the biggest positive strides Weaver made in 2009 was eating more innings. He set a career-high in innings pitched and did so by cutting down his pitches per inning by a full pitch. That doesn’t sound like much, but it shows that Weaver is learning to be more efficient with his pitches. That is something that will come in handy if he wants to be considered a real ace, because a true number one starter has to be able to go deep into games on a regular basis.
2010 Preview: I’m bullish on Weaver, but I am also not real sure that he hasn’t maxed out his potential already. He isn’t an overpowering guy and his off-speed stuff isn’t spectacular, so he really can only get better by improving his mental approach to the game. He might get a small boost this season if the two-seam fastball he has been working on turns out to be any good, but I doubt he will use it enough to make a big difference. Expect Weaver to closely replicate his 2009 performance with the added boost of him using his more prominent role as a motivator to continue to improve his game.