The Rise and Fall of Jered Weaver

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Jered Weaver was one of the best pitchers of the Angels in the late 2000s and early 2010s. He was an All-Star and considered an ace on the Angels staff for years. However, as he aged, he fell off drastically becoming an unreliable starting pitcher. What happened during the later years that made him fall off and what gave him such great success in his early years.

The Early Years of Weaver

Jered Weaver entered the league at the age of 23 with the Angels. As a rookie, he started 19 games and posted an 11-2 record with a 2.56 earned run average (ERA). He pitched 123 innings and only let up 35 home runs.  He also finished fifth in the rookie of the year voting behind Justin Verlander, Jonathan Papelbon, Francisco Liriano, and Kenji Johjima.

Early in his career, he relied on his fastball averaging about 90 mph on it. He relied on batters swinging and missing on many pitches, especially with his slider. He had four main pitches which included his fastball, slider, changeup, and cutter. This includes leading the league in strikeouts with 233.

From 2006 to 2012 Weaver was able to put up outstanding numbers winning 120 of his games in the 207 appearances he made. Within these six years, he had a good ERA posting a 3.55 ERA over seven years. 

2012 was his best year posting a 20-5 record with a 2.81 ERA in 34 games started. He only walked 45 batters on the year with 142 strikeouts. He also achieved some accolades including an all-star appearance and voted third in the Cy Young voting.

Through 2007-2009 Weaver helped lead the Angels to the playoffs losing to the Red Sox in 2007 and 2008 in the ALDS. In 2009 they got their revenge beating the Red Sox in the ALDS but lost in the ALCS to the Yankees. However, in some of those best seasons, the team around him could not get him to the playoffs with his last playoff appearance in 2012 which ultimately lead to him starting to struggle.

What Happened to Jared Weaver?

After his amazing 2012 season, his stats began to drop off. His ERA jumps up almost a full point in 2013 and his winning percentage decreased by 300 percentage points. And with his last season with the Angels, he posted a 12-12 record with a 5.06 ERA.  His walk rate went up and his strike-out rate when down.

In 2016, the velocity of his fastball dropped to 84.2 mph. This 6-mph drop is significant because as the offense in the MLB has gone up an 84-mph fastball looks like a meatball with too many hitters. And his other pitches also dropped in velocity as well. And with pitchers looking to smash home runs it leads to his ERA skyrocketing. In 2016, he led the league in allowed home runs giving up 37.

What did not help his cause was that he was still considered the “ace” of the staff pitching the most innings out of the five starters. But he also was not getting the offense of numbers needed to carry this poor pitching staff. Mike Trout and Albert Pujols carried the bulk of the offensive load with a combined 60 home runs and 219 runs batted. Not having an offensive juggernaut hurt the Angels staff but especially Weaver.

Overall, it is said that Weaver was unable to have great success like fellow rookie Justin Verlander, who found great success in his later years. He will definitely be remembered for what he was able to do early on in his career rather than what he did in later years with the club.

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Justin Oosterwyk has been a writer for Overtime Heroics for the past year. He has been focusing on the Los Angeles Angels but has also written other Major League baseball articles. His favorite team is the New York Yankees, and his favorite player of all time is Mark Teixeira.