Angels right-hander Jered Weaver tossed three innings against the Diamondbacks on Wednesday and his fastball was clocked in the low 80s, topping out at 85 miles per hour.
Naturally he was asked about the low velocity by reporters afterward and Weaver replied:
How many velocity questions are we going to have? I don’t pay attention to velocity. It’s more about getting location down and being able to get on pitches when you need to.
Meanwhile, manager Mike Scioscia admitted that Weaver “has a lot of moving parts” within his pitching mechanics and “was a little out of sync, really fighting himself.”
Weaver has never been a hard-thrower and his fastball velocity has been in a pretty steady decline for years:
2010: 89.9 mph
2011: 89.1 mph
2012: 87.8 mph
2013: 86.5 mph
2014: 86.3 mph
Last season among the 148 pitchers to throw at least 100 innings Weaver’s average fastball velocity of 86.3 miles per hour was the fifth-slowest behind R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Chris Young, and Josh Collmenter. Dickey and Buehrle were the only two pitchers to average below 85 miles per hour, so that’s the company a 32-year-old Weaver would potentially be keeping if his velocity dips further in 2015.
And unlike those two soft-tossers Weaver is neither a knuckleballer nor a crafty left-hander, although if anyone qualifies as a crafty right-hander it’s certainly him. Despite never throwing very hard and recently throwing in the mid-80s he’s posted an ERA of 3.75 or lower every season since 2009, with three top-five finishes in the Cy Young voting. And last year, while averaging 86 miles per hour, Weaver won 18 games and threw 213 innings with a 3.59 ERA and 169 strikeouts.
He’s probably sick of being asked questions about his lack of velocity because he’s been succeeding despite the missing miles per hour, but it seems fair to ask at what point not even Weaver can keep walking that tightrope.