In the last three seasons, Jered Weaver finished fifth, second, and third in American League Cy Young balloting. Obviously, the Angels are counting on him for big things this season. Especially considering that the back end of their rotation is sorta questionable. Well, now he's going to miss some time. Which isn't the end of the world ... if he's outstanding upon his return. Will he be, though?
Halos' Weaver out 4-6, fractured left elbow. His pitching is bigger concern. Terrible in two starts. No velocity.— Gerry Fraley (@gfraley) April 9, 2013
Last weekend I learned about a new-for-me pitch, when Orel Hershiser analyzed Weaver on ESPN:
He's moved from a four-seam fastball over the last couple of years to a no-seam fastball, which is his way of throwing a sinker, or something that actually runs -- his ball has a large tail on it -- and he can get the ball off the barrel of the bat very well. One of the best in the game at that. That no-seam fastball was taught to him by a teammate, Scot Shields, who was here with the Angels. Jered will admit to you that without that lesson, and that movement on the ball, he doesn't know where he'd be. He knows he wouldn't be a 20-game winner.
Before that soliloquy, Hershiser noted that Weaver's fastball would top out around 86 miles an hour. What Hershiser didn't mention is that while Weaver had already moved from the four-seam fastball to the no-seam fastball, it wasn't until this season that his fastball's become a slow ball. Here are Weaver's average fastball speeds since he arrived in the majors:
90 89 90 89 90 89 88 86
With enough movement, you can get away with throwing a bunch of high-80s fastballs. Weaver's living proof of that. But middling 80s? I've got serious doubts about that.
Weaver has thrown only 11 innings this season, not nearly enough for us to assume he's become a different pitcher, has lost arm strength, or whatever. It's something to watch, though. When he gets back next month.
For so much more about Jered Weaver and the Angels of Anaheim, please visit SB Nation's Halos Heaven.