Jered Weaver: Angels Star Establishes Himself as Elite Starter with No-Hitter

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2012

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 02:  Starting pitcher Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim celebrates after throwing a no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 2, 2012 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Twins 9-0.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

It's time for Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee to make some room because there's a new member of the elite club. Los Angeles Angels ace Jered Weaver should now be viewed as one of the game's greats after his no-hitter on Wednesday night.

Weaver has been a very good pitcher for several seasons. He's been a key cog in the Angels rotation and would have been in the Cy Young conversation last year if not for Verlander's dominant season. But he lacked the marquee moment necessary to get recognized as one of the best.

He finally got it last night with an awesome performance against the Minnesota Twins. While most people on the east coast were sleeping, Weaver rolled through the Twins with relative ease, striking out nine.

A walk to Josh Willingham was Weaver's only blemish.

The victory moved Weaver's record to 4-0 on the season and his other numbers are even more impressive. He leads the American League in ERA and strikeouts, coming in behind only Jake Peavy in WHIP.

It's still early, but Weaver has already taken the lead in the Cy Young race.

His ability to improve his control (career-low 1.4 walks per nine) while still maintaining a high strikeout rate has allowed him to take another step forward in his development. And Weaver is still just 29, so he's still got several years of prime left, which should be scary for opposing hitters.

The no-hitter couldn't have come at a better time for the Angels. After spending a boatload of money during the offseason on high-profile free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, the team currently sits in last place with a 10-15 record.

Excitement like Weaver provided should provide a boost to the entire team.

Pujols isn't going to hit near the Mendoza line without a home run all season and Ervin Santana will eventually right the ship as well. Last night might be the turning point for those players and every other struggling Angel.

Although the game may serve as a turning point for his team, the lasting impact from Weaver's no-no will be his rise from very good to elite. He's now in select company with baseball's top starting pitchers.

It's recognition that's been a long time coming.