In 2011, Jered Weaver had an outstanding year, finishing 5th among pitchers in ESPN’s Player Rater (his second year in a row finishing in the top 10) with a 2.41 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP and 198 strikeouts.
However, there are troubling signs that a repeat is very unlikely. Weaver had a 82.6 LOB%, a .250 BABIP, and a 6.3% HR/FB ratio. All of these stats are affected to some degree by luck and are well outside the league averages. They were all his career bests among years where he completed a whole season. The difference between Weaver’s xFIP of 3.80 and his ERA of 2.41 was one of the highest in the majors. All of this indicates that Weaver was very lucky this past season, and should experience at least some form of regression this year. Weaver could very very have a good year, but it seems highly improbable that he will keep his ERA below 3.00.
To make matters worse Weaver’s outstanding strikeout rate of 9.35 K/9 in 2010 declined to 7.56 in 2011 which is much more in line with his career average. Without the elite ERA of 2011, and without the amazing strikeout rate of 2010, Weaver’s value could plummet.
We don’t have any reliable ADP data for the coming season, but after two excellent seasons in a row, it’s a safe bet that Weaver will probably be drafted around pick 30 in many fantasy drafts. The bottomline is that with all the signs pointing to a large increase in ERA, there is no way we will be drafting Weaver this year, unless of course he falls in the draft to a place where he won’t. For 2012 I am projecting him to be 16-9 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and 200 Ks. Those are still impressive numbers, but are something you could probably get at least a few rounds later than he will be taken.