As we continue our series of Hall of Fame ballot previews with the MLB season shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, we take a look at the career of Jered Weaver. Weaver made three straight All-Star games with the Angels from 2010-2012.
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Why is he on the ballot?
From the time of his debut in 2006 until 2012, Weaver was one of the best pitchers in the league. His 119 ERA+ in that span ranked tied for 10th among pitchers with at least 500 innings pitched with Justin Verlander, ahead of players like Cole Hammels, Felix Hernández, Cliff Lee and Zack Greinke. His WAR ranked seventh among MLB pitchers in that span. From 2010-2012, Weaver’s 141 ERA+ ranked fourth behind Verlander, Clayton Kershaw and Josh Johnson and he finished in the top 5 in Cy Young Award voting those three years. His 233 strikeouts in 2010 led the league, and he led the league in WHIP in 2012 with 1.018. He also earned two AL wins titles with 20 in 2012 and 18 in 2014.
Why won’t he make the Hall of Fame?
Weaver started to go downhill following 2012. After a three-year peak that saw his ERA+ not dip below 130, he posted a 115 ERA+ in 2013, then a 100 in 2014, and an 81 in 2015. He was unable to adjust and adapt to pitch well into his 30s, as he was unable to regain his peak form in 31 starts in 2016 or in nine more in San Diego in 2017. He was unceremoniously released in August of 2017 by the Padres at just 34, ending his Major League playing career.
Weaver was never the best pitcher in the league, as in his best season in 2011, his 156 ERA+ was overshadowed by Justin Verlander putting up a 172 and winning the Cy Young and MVP awards as he also won 24 games. Weaver was only a top-10 pitcher for about eight years, and if you don’t ever reach the very top you need to be in the top 10 for at least a decade before you really become worth considering for the Hall of Fame.
Lastly, Weaver didn’t have the longevity to make the Hall of Fame. He barely reached 2,000 innings as his career lasted just 12 years. He didn’t get to milestones like 200 wins or 2,000 strikeouts that would have helped build his Hall of Fame case because he flamed out in his early 30s.
He had roughly a three-year peak from 2010-2012, and only topped 5 WAR in a season in 2010 and 2011. His 34.6 career WAR is less than half that of the average Hall of Fame starting pitcher (73.3) and JAWS puts him 220th all-time for starting pitchers, with 65 in the Hall of Fame.
Up next: John Lackey.
Stats and info courtesy of Baseball-Reference