Jered Weaver’s velocity a cause for concern?


Jered Weaver has been with the Anaheim Angels organization since he was drafted by them with the 12th overall pick in 2004 out of Long Beach State. He made his debut in 2006 and has pitched consistently with the Angels ever since. In 2010 his fastball velocity was averaging 90 MPH, and as it sets in 2014, his velocity on his fastball had dropped to 86 MPH on average. It took a steady fall each season from 2011-2013 and was right about the same in 2014 as in 2013. He is getting older, at now 32 years old, and has to learn how to pitch without his 90 MPH fastball anymore. Is the loss of velocity a concern for Weaver and the Angels going forward?

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I am on the fence a little bit about Weaver and his now 86 MPH fastball. He was able to throw over 200 innings for the first time since 2010. That has to do that he was healthy the entire season and made 34 starts. The Angels had a 22-12 record in his starts, but Weaver rarely made it out of the sixth inning in the majority of his starts. In 20 of his 34 starts he pitched six innings or less.

This is because he can’t face lineups three or four times anymore because of his lack of velocity and deception. He faced an opponents lineup the third time thru in 33 of his starts, allowing 32 runs, on 70 hits, 20 of them being for extra-bases. The trouble for Weaver was allowing the long ball the third time thru the order as well. A third of his 27 home runs allowed came in the third time thru the order.

The funny thing is, if he made it thru the lineup a third time and faced them a fourth, he was great. He didn’t allow a run in 12 games and allowed just three hits. Yes, it was a small sample size, so keep that in mind as well.

So the trouble for Weaver came in the third time thru the order in 2014. I don’t think it is a coincidence that his velocity had dropped from 88 MPH in the first to 86 MPH in the sixth on average. That may not seem like much, but when a hitter is facing a pitcher for the third time in a game, he knows his tendencies and can sit on a pitch. All pitchers lose velocity over the length of a game, but when you are not used to losing that velocity, it makes a huge difference in the way you pitch.

So to answer the question, do I think his loss of velocity is a reason for concern? Yes. I’m not as worried in the beginning of the game, but once the game moves into the middle innings, things can go off course very quickly. The Angels offense helps a lot as well when they scored at least four runs in 22 of his 34 starts. This will be something to keep an eye on throughout the 2015 season, because the only way his velocity is going is down. Hopefully he begins to trust his breaking stuff a bit more early in the game, so he can last longer and not put such a burden on the bullpen. But overall going forward, his velocity is something to keep a close eye on.

*Velocity numbers are via and Baseball Savant. I want to thank them for making their information free for the public’s use* 

*Stats via the Baseball-Reference Play Index*

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