Jered Weaver Out For a Month or Two

Yesterday, we talked about the red flags created by Jered Weaver‘s performances over the last few months. Today brings news that Jered Weaver will be placed on the disabled list. For the Angels, this will likely be construed as a big blow. It is probably not that big of a deal in the long run.

As we noted yesterday, there are reasons to think that current Jered Weaver is likely to perform less well than classic Jered Weaver. Coming into the season, the combined Steamer/ZIPS forecast that we used for our Positional Power Rankings piece had Weaver with a 3.42 ERA, compared to a 4.83 forecast for Garrett Richards, who will be replacing Weaver in the rotation. However, you might have noticed that we have stealthily added rest-of-season ZIPS forecasts to the site, and that Weaver’s poor performance velocity have already caused both systems to degrade his forecasts. ZIPS now projects Weaver for a 3.20 ERA, up from 3.01, while Steamer adjusted him from 3.82 to 3.89.

The updated forecast for Weaver would call for an ERA of around 3.55 going forward, which is still better than Richards’ 4.84 ERA, but the gap has been narrowed a bit. And, since we’re only talking about an estimated 4-6 week window, then the difference is only going to be in effect for around 40 to 50 innings. Over that time period, it works out to about a six run difference.

Of course, it’s slightly more complicated than that. Richards will get replaced in the bullpen by a pitcher who was judged to be inferior when setting the Opening Day roster, so there may be some loss of effectiveness in relief, though since neither Steamer nor ZIPS was all that high on Richards to begin with, that shouldn’t be a big swing. There may also be a compounding effect on the bullpen by having to take a larger workload without Weaver around to eat innings, but on the other hand, the Angels could also minimize some of the effect by using off days to skip some of Richards starts, which they wouldn’t have done with Weaver.

The point here isn’t to be precise. The point here is to identify that the Angels are dealing with a downgrade that would be forecast to cost them somewhere between four and eight runs, most likely. Significant, sure, but probably not a large enough issue to change the AL West standings in a meaningful way.

And, there’s a potentially helpful byproduct that will come from Weaver spending a month on the sidelines — perhaps he’ll have time to build up strength in his right arm again. You’d expect that Weaver will go out on some type of rehab assignment before he takes the mound in Anaheim again, and giving him a chance to rest and reboot could end up being beneficial to his second half performance. So far, the version of Jered Weaver that throws 86 mph fastballs hasn’t been particularly effective. Perhaps a month off will help him get back to the version who threw 88 mph and was one of the American League’s best pitchers.

It’s possible he would have gotten there anyway. We don’t have nearly enough information to say that a month of rest will cure what ails Weaver’s right arm, but this seems like a situation where giving him a bit of a break might be relatively helpful. Would Weaver pitch well enough without the rest that this is a net negative overall? Maybe, but it’s also possible that a month on the sidelines will cause Rested Weaver to outperform Non-Rested Weaver by enough of a margin to wipe out the lost value of having Richards in the rotation for a month.

I know it’s less than satisfying to have a post without any kind of real conclusion, but that’s kind of how it goes with pitchers. We don’t know how to forecast their performance all that well even when they’re healthy, and we’re not totally sure Weaver’s right arm is healthy. Add in the large variances that come with 40 to 50 innings of pitching results, and there’s a real chance that Richards actually pitches better in the next month than Weaver would have. On the whole, this is probably not great news for the Angels, but there are so many variables that it could end up being nothing, or maybe even being positive.

Whatever you thought about the Angels yesterday, you should probably think about them today. Jered Weaver is going to spend a month or two on the DL, but there’s a pretty decent chance that it won’t matter all that much.

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Dave is a co-founder of and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

22 Responses to “Jered Weaver Out For a Month or Two”

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  1. wade says:

    I presume that you are talking about Garrett Richards, but your article never states that.

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    • Ruki Motomiya says:

      “Coming into the season, the combined Steamer/ZIPS forecast that we used for our Positional Power Rankings piece had Weaver with a 3.42 ERA, compared to a 4.83 forecast for Garrett Richards,”

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  2. The Humber Games says:

    Given that your last article was premised upon weaver’s problems’ having started last year and spanned the offseason, isn’t it wishful thinking that a month off would do much for his velocity?

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  3. Green says:

    Watching the Red Sox mix and match fill-in pitchers the last few years I’m not hopeful about losing our ace for two months. Lets hope Richards is up to the task.

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  4. aifh says:

    Stop trying to hide your excitement Dave. I knew you’d be writing this article. Of course the M’s fan writes the article gloating about the angels ace being injured

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  5. Trotter76 says:

    I’m not sure I buy the “Rested” vs. “Non-Rested” Weaver. He pitched 15 innings in Spring Training and then 11 innings over his first 2 starts, so that equates to 26 innings in 40 days. If he already had 130 innings under his belt in August, I could get behind the “rest will do him good” theory, but this early in the season I just can’t see that being the reason behind his velocity and effectiveness drop.

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  6. walt526 says:

    Not that it really matters, but might it not make more since to put Jerome Williams in the rotation rather than Richards? I’m working off the premise that Richards has gone from promising starting prospect to reliever with potential by now. That is, he throws hard (with inconsistent command) but is really just a two-pitch pitcher (fastball and a mediocre slider against righties and a medicore changeup against lefties). Given his command issues, it’s hard to see him being an effective innings eater, but he still might have some usefulness as a middle inning reliever.

    Williams has a slightly better projection than Richards and is a known mediocrity. If it’s just 4-6 weeks, it really doesn’t matter which one of them is going to get shelled. But from a player development perspective, it seems to me that it makes more sense for the Angels to resign themselves to Richards being a reliever and to try to extract some value from his cost controlled years in that role. Particularly given that he’s now out of options and won’t get a chance to develop in the minors as a starter.

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  7. Hurtlockertwo says:

    I’m thinking the Angels are more worried about Pujols and Hamilton.

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  8. Andre the Angels Fan says:

    And so the nightmare scenario for the Angels begins, where the hitting is good but not world beating, and the pitching just sucks. How depressing.

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  9. Brandon B says:

    As an Angel’s fan, I’m quite disappointed in the organizations latest moves. In my opinion they are falling into the philosophy of the Yankees of the past. Instead of developing a farm system and or finding buy low players with high upside they are flushing out money as well as absurd contract lengths for players who might have peaked already. It’s depleting the team for the future because I highly doubt that some of the current contracts will be fully played out. I’m still baffled at the Hamilton signing especially since the Angels should have known that Weaver’s peripherals were declining as well as health, I understand the rivalry between the Rangers and taking away one of their best hitters as a positive, but neglecting the prospect of having another number one pitcher in Greinke on the staff is another fail on the organization in my opinion. Wilson is a 3 starter in actuality, but now he must perform for a month and a half as a 1 is going to be a tough task for to handle.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      If it makes you feel any better, the Angels likely won’t be the only ALWest team to lose a starting pitcher to injury for a month or two.

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  10. J says:

    You forgot to mention one important fact. How did Weaver get hurt!?
    (He broke his left elbow falling as he dodged a line drive.)
    Yes, I noticed one of your links specified the injury, but that doesn’t mean you should omit that pertinent info from this article.

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    • commenter #1 says:

      do you need to be spoonfed that? i think most people reading this article are likely to know that going in

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