Jered Weaver’s Velocity

By Andrew Petrucci

Jered Weaver has been an above average pitcher throughout his whole career at the top of the rotation. Coming out of college he was never considered a flamethrower, but still possessed the 90 mph fastball that is almost required as a right handed pitcher in the bigs. As his career has progressed, it’s clear his velocity has diminished over time, losing a tick or two each year. Up until now it had never been much of an issue and he was still able to pitch at a high level, but currently Weaver’s fastball is sitting 82-84 mph.

The early season struggles from Weaver have to raise concerns about his lack of velocity. At 0-3 with a 5.89 ERA and allowing opponents to hit nearly .300 off him explain his ineffectiveness. The difference between him throwing 86 mph to 82 mph may not look like a huge number but it most certainly is. It’s not just his fastball that is suffering, its the other pitches like his changeup that make him ineffective. Outside of his pitching motion and arm slot, there is nothing deceptive about Weaver this year. Hitters are able to sit fastball and changeup at the same time because they’re both coming in at almost the same speed.

Pitching is all about location, and Weaver does possess good control otherwise he wouldn’t have had this success in his career. The problem is he needs to be almost perfect rather than just hit spots now. Weaver has essentially turned in to a right handed version of Jamie Moyer. It’s puzzling to figure out why he loses velocity each year at such an alarming rate because at 32 years old Weaver is still somewhat young. His margin for error has become so small that it’s difficult to consider him a guy you can count on at the top of the rotation.