Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Over the last two seasons, Los Angeles Angels starter Jered Weaver suddenly became a right-handed version of Jamie Moyer.
Among pitchers who threw at least 150 innings last season, Weaver had the third lowest average four-seam fastball velocity.
His fastball traveled so slowly it would have had to stay in the right lane on your local highway.
Only R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle threw slower. Dickey's a knuckleballer so there's no surprise there, and Buehrle has thrown in the mid-80s his entire career.
But Weaver was throwing 89-90 mph as recently as two years ago before dropping to 88 in 2012 and 86.8 in 2013.
The thing is, Weaver was still very successful at missing bats last season, even on pitches in the strike zone. In fact, he had the second lowest z- contact rate in the majors last season (minimum 150 innings).
In first place? AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer. Rounding out the top five were AL ERA champ Anibal Sanchez, White Sox lefty Chris Sale and Justin Verlander, so Weaver was in good company.
Now, Weaver threw a much lower percentage of pitches in the zone than those four, but he made up for that by generating a solid chase rate of 32.6 percent.
Weaver mixed his pitches well, throwing his four-seamer, two-seamer, slider, curveball and changeup at least 12.3 percent of the time while firing a cutter in there on 5.4 percent of his pitches, according to FanGraphs.
He was limited to 154 1/3 innings last season, mostly because of a freak injury in which he fractured his left elbow while trying to avoid a line drive Texas Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland hit back at the mound on April 7. He missed seven weeks with the injury.
Weaver also dealt with right forearm soreness in September, which is an injury that is sometimes indicative of a problem with the elbow, but it turned out to be minor.
Weaver finished with a 3.27 ERA, a 3.82 FIP and a 4.31 xFIP in 2013, but that type of disparity is nothing new. He's been outperforming his expected numbers his entire career (career 3.24 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 4.10 xFIP) by bearing down with runners on base (career 77.3 percent strand rate).
The problem with Weaver is that his pricetag hasn't adjusted properly. He's been the 27th starter off draft boards with an aggregate average draft position (ADP) of 113.8 (data collected from Yahoo, ESPN, CBS, mockdraftcentral.com and nfbc.stats.com) when he really should be going 30 picks later.
Due to his velocity dipping to a below-average level, Weaver lacks upside. And even though he's been able to sustain success despite the fastball decline, there's a chance he either continues to lose his stuff and gets hit hard or that the drop in velocity is due to an injury.
So at pick 114, I'm not enamored with the Angels right-hander.
Christopher Lloyd and his band of celestial pals aren't flying in to give Weaver some extra heat like they did for Tony Danza.
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