2011 Fantasy Baseball Projections: Why Angels' Jered Weaver Is a Top 10 Pitcher

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2011 Fantasy Baseball Projections: Why Angels' Jered Weaver Is a Top 10 Pitcher
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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Jered Weaver pitched an absolute gem on Sunday, limiting a potent Blue Jays lineup to just one run on four hits in 7.2 innings. Weaver walked four and fanned a career-high 15.

The first pitcher to three wins this season, Weaver now boasts a 0.87 ERA and WHIP, with 27 strikeouts and nine walks in 20.6 innings.

The 28-year-old is making a strong case to be considered as a top-10 starting pitcher, and here’s why:

After establishing himself as a first-half pitcher in each of his first four major-league seasons, Jered Weaver dominated all of 2010, posting career-best totals in innings (224.3), K/9 (9.35) and BB/9 (2.17).

In fact, the advanced stats suggest Weaver was a completely different pitcher in 2010. Consider the following:

Strikeout Rate

  • 2008: 7.74
  • 2009: 7.42
  • 2010: 9.35

Walk Rate

  • 2008: 2.75
  • 2009: 2.82
  • 2010: 2.17

ERA

  • 2008: 4.33
  • 2009: 3.75
  • 2010: 3.01

WHIP

  • 2008: 1.28
  • 2009: 1.24
  • 2010: 1.07

Batting Average Against

  • 2008: .253
  • 2009: .241
  • 2010: .220

So what was the difference between last year compared to ‘08 and ‘09? Was it luck? 

Nope.

  • 2010 BABIP: .276 (career .283)
  • 2010 LOB rate: 75.7 percent (career 75.5 percent)
  • 2010 HR/FB rate: 7.8 percent (career 7.9 percent)

Heck, even Weaver’s FIP (3.06) and xFIP (3.51) suggest his 2010 campaign was legit.

The real difference appears to be in the evolution of his fastball and curveball, checking in at 13, and 9.7 runs above average, respectively. When combined with his above-average slider (3.1 runs above average) and changeup (8.4 runs above average), Weaver’s pitching repertoire is one of the most dynamic in the majors.

This, in turn, led to elite totals in the ‘that’s nasty’ pitching categories:

  • Contact rate: 75.4 percent (sixth)
  • Zone contact rate: 79.2 percent (first)
  • Swinging strike rate: 11.2 percent (fourth)
  • O-swing rate: 33.5 percent (seventh)

Expect the Angels ace to continue his dominance on his way to solidifying his status as a top-10 pitcher.

  IP W K/9 BB/9 ERA WHIP
2010 stats 224.1 13 9.35 2.17 3.01 1.07
3-year average 201 13 8.22 2.56 3.65 1.19
2011 FBI Forecast 221 15 8.8 2.35 3.3 1.13

 

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