Jered Weaver is still riding high on the momentum of his no-hitter against Minnesota last week. He was named the AL Player of the Week and will now be heading to the Late Show with David Letterman. To celebrate Jered’s whirlwind celebration tour, we present: The Top Ten Jered Weaver Moments!
10. Sibling Rivalry Taken To A Whole New Level
Jered Weaver came up with the Angels and for a time got to be on the same pitching staff as his big brother Jeff Weaver. It was a short while, because when Jered finally came up for good in 2006, it was big brother Jeff who he replaced. Jeff would end up in St. Louis for the rest of the season as part of a World Series Championship run (so don’t feel too bad for him) but just like any brothers, siblings are going to rival. Jeff got to jab Jered with a “tell everybody I said thanks,” when he returned to Angel Stadium, but it wasn’t until June 20, 2009, that the brothers got a chance to settle things on the field. For just the 21st time in the history of baseball, siblings started against each other as Jered took the hill for the Angels and faced off with older brother Jeff, now with the Dodgers, in Anaheim. Little brother couldn’t match with older as the Dodgers walked away with a 6-4 win with Jered going just 5.1 innings, giving up six runs on 10 hits, striking out four and walking three. Big brother Jeff went 5.0 innings and gave up just two runs on six hits, striking out four and walking none. So big brother got the World Series ring and the win. Big brothers are the worst like that.
9. Give Me All The College Awards You Have
During Jered Weaver’s collegiate career at Cal State Long Beach, he perfected his control to go along with his dominating heat. By the time he was ready to leave school, Weaver was winning just about every award college baseball had. Over his college career, Weaver went 37-9, and in 2004 went 15-1 with a 1.62 ERA with 213 strikouts and just 21 walks in 144 innings. He was named the 2004 College Baseball’s Dick Howser Trophy winner as the national collegiate baseball player of the year, as we all winning the Roger Clemens Award as the nation’s top pitcher. He was named first-team All-American by Baseball America and was projected to be the top overall pick in the MLB draft.
8. Weaver Makes MLB Debut Like It’s No Big Deal
Weaver ended up going 12th overall by the Angels and quickly rose through their farm system. He made his major league debut on May 27, 2006, just 361 days after signing with the club, as a mid-season call-up when ace Bartolo Colon went on the DL. He faced off against the Baltimore Orioles, and looked like a seasoned vet on the hill, going 7.0 shutout innings with five strikeouts and allowing just three hits. The 23-year old held Baltimore to just one hit after the second inning while throwing 64 of his 97 pitches for strikes. After a long holdout and a meteoric rise through the farm system, the expectations for the lanky righty were sky high…and he still blew them out of the water.
7. Young Jered Weaver Looked Like He Might Never Lose
Weaver followed up his impressive debut by looking unbeatable when he got called up a second time in 2006 in June, this time for good. This time, he would replace his big brother Jeff in the rotation, but he quickly made Angels fans forget about any other Weaver. The rookie would win in his first nine decisions over his first 12 starts, tying an American League record set by Whitey Ford in 1950. During his uncanny winning streak, Weaver posted a 1.95 ERA and struck out 65 batters. He would take his first loss against Boston on August 24, despite giving up just one run on four hits. Weaver would finish the year 11-2 with a 2.56 and finished fifth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.
6. Jered Weaver Comes Out As One Of The Best
Weaver was thrust unceremoniously into the position of being the ace of the staff in 2010, but responded really well, posting career bests across the board. In 2011, he poured a truck full of cement on the spot and planted a plaque laying claim to it for the rest of time. He set a major league record for reaching six wins, winning his first six starts by April 25 with a 0.99 ERA. He would finish the season 18-8 with a 2.41 ERA, which is the lowest for an Angel since 1990 when Chuck Finley posted a 2.40. He would finish second in ERA for the American League behind Justin Verlander, who posted a 2.40, and would lose out on the AL Cy Young to Verlander as well. While he didn’t get recognized as the best pitcher, there was no question Weaver planted his flag as one of the elite arms in baseball and removed any question about who the Ace in Anaheim would be moving forward.
5. Weaver Spins Opening Day Gem
How would Weaver follow up such a spectacular 2011 campaign? Oh, only by throwing one of the best Opening Day gems in Angels history is all. On April 6, 2012, Weaver took the hill to kick off the season for Los Angeles and completely shut down the Kansas City Royals. He went 8.0 scoreless innings, striking out 10, scattering four hits and walking zero. He retired thirteen straight batters after giving up back-to-back singles in the third inning. It was the 12th time in his career he reached double-digit strikeouts, and he because just the third pitcher in Angels history to record at least 10 strikeouts on Opening Day, joining Nolan Ryan (who did it twice with 12 in 1973 and 1975) and Andy Messersmith (11 in 1970). While the rest of the team has started sluggishly this season, Weaver came out throwing smoke from day one.
4. Weaver Crowned As The Strikeout King
One of the benefits of Weaver’s amazing stuff is that he gets a lot of people to swing and miss. In 2010, he was more unhittable than ever and recorded 233 strikeouts on the season, walking away with the strikeout championship. He bested fellow AL West ace Felix Hernandez by a single strike to take the crown. The incredible strike out number was part of a breakout 2010 season in which he perfected his control and achieved career bests in innings pitched (224.1), ERA (3.01) and WHIP (1.07). But this was just a preview of what was to come as he broke all those bests the very next season. The strikeout total, however, stands as his best ever.
3. Jered Fans 15
During his spectacular 2011, Weaver continued to use the strikeout to dominate hitters. He posted three games of double digit strikeouts, and none more than his April 10, 2011, start against the Toronto Blue Jays. On that day, Weaver was fooling everyone in a Blue Jays uniform as he struck out a career-best 15 in 7.2 innings of work. The start came one day after the Angels had been in a 14-inning marathon that had exhausted everyone in the Angels bullpen minus Dan Haren. Manager Mike Scioscia needed Weaver to pitch effectively deep into the game, and he obliged with one of his strongest performances of his career, including striking out the homerun leader of 2010, Jose Bautista, with his 125th pitch of the game in the eight inning.
2. Weaver Spins First Complete Game Shutout
While Weaver has a bit of a reputation as a workhorse, he didn’t pitch his first complete game until 2009 which was also the season he pitched his first complete game shutout. On June 14, 2009, in a home interleague game against the San Diego Padres, Weaver went the distance, shutting out the Padres while scattering five hits and striking out five while walking one. Weaver completed the game on 119 pitches, 80 of them thrown for strikes. It was the third complete game for Weaver in 2009, but the first that he had been able to get through clean, and was a shining example of just how dominant Weaver could be.
1. Weaver No-No’s The Twins
But there could be only one top moment, and was there any doubt what it would be? Weaver was phenomenal May 2, 2012, against the Minnesota Twins and utterly overmatched the opposing lineup from top to bottom. He struck out nine and walked only one, allowing just two baserunners all day. The Twins closest chance to get a hit sailed foul during the eighth inning. Other than that, it was all Weaver. The feat was especially sweet for Weaver because it was at home, in So-Cal where Weaver grew up and went to college. His mom and dad and wife were all there to celebrate with him, and not even a full bladder could keep Jered from making history.
At just 29 years old, Jered Weaver still has a long career ahead of him. He’s already been able to accomplish so much, who knows how far he’ll go in rewriting the history books? But for now, we look back on an impressive rise for one of the elite pitchers in baseball. So how did we do? What has been your favorite Weaver moment?