#10 - JERED WEAVER, P
He should have been one of the first picks in the 2004 draft but his agent was Scott Boras and Jered Weaver fell... right into the Angels' laps with the twelfth pick. This was Arte Moreno's first chance to greenlight spending on a promising young pick and the new owner came through with flying colors. Only Dustin Pedroia (38 WAR, second round pick) and Justin Verlander (40 career WAR, second pick) have outdone the 33.4 Wins Above Replacement that Jered Weaver has delivered to his team out of all the players taken in the 2004 draft.
But Weaver wasn't an easy sign and held out from the June, '04 pick until May of 2005. He made his debut a year later and was instantly the best pitcher on the team. Sadly, manager Mike Scioscia's allegiance to veteran rotation members made Jered expendable when a clearly spent Bartolo Colon was ready to come off the DL and Jered's brother Jeff sleepwalked through a terrible season. Jeff was finally traded to make room for his brother, and awkward introduction to a permanent spot in the rotation if ever there were one, but Jered made it work. When the Angels finished four games back of the division in 2006 with a strong 89-win team, the presence of one Weaver in the rotation for too long was as glaring a reason for the second place finish as the absence of the other for too many games.
Many analysts, especially sabermetric types, were not impressed with the amazing results of nineteen games in the big leagues in 2006 produced. When Weaver fell back to earth in 2007 with a 3.91 ERA in 28 starts, the parsing of the numbers found someone who gave up flyballs as often as he did was bound to fail. And yet the anti-brilliance of only looking at the numbers was proven over the large sample size as Weaver adjusted to use his naturally-deceptive motion to destroy the critics and predictors. The numbers did not show that the the thrower was adjusting form a power arm to a chessmaster who could deliver offspeed pitches and fastballs with the same across-the-body motion that confused hitters. Picking the ball up late, Jered induced lots of popups to go with the long flyballs, something that was not being considered in the data noise by those who knew better until they didn't.
Weaver was the #2 or #3 pitcher on the staffs of the Angels teams that won three consecutive American League Western Division titles in 2007, '08 and '09. He got the first Angels playoff win against Boston since 1986 when he pitched in relief in Game 3 in Fenway. He pitched seven innings of one-run ball in Game 2 of the 2009 ALDS sweep of the Chowds. It was he, Nick Adenhart's roommate, who made sure to carry the late player's jersey onto the field to celebrate.
After the 2009 season, John Lackey left for free agency and Weaver blossomed into an unparalleled ace. He had three great seasons. His ERA+ in 2010 thru 12 were 132, 156, and 136 respectively. His 2.41 ERA in 2011 was the fourth best ever by an Angels starting pitcher in a single season. Four single season WHIP rates of his rank in the franchise top ten with the 1.010 WHIP of 2011 ranking highest, third best Angels single season mark, while the 1.074 WHIP form 2010 ranks tenth, with 2006 and 2012 in between.
Despite advocates of advanced stats railing against Weaver early in his career, it is the advanced stats that tell how superior he has been for the team when lined up with the greats of the franchise His ERA+ of 127 is the best for any Angels starting pitcher and for Halo arms with more than 500 IP, he is third behind Troy Percival and Scot Shields. In Adjusted Pitching Runs and Adjusted Pitching Wins he ranks second all time. In Base-Out Runs Saved he is the all time leader for the franchise. In old time metrics - he ranks third as an Angel in Wins with 113 and his .653 Win-Loss Percentage is number one in franchise history.
And to make it all even more awesome, he re-signed with the Angels in 2011 for well-below market rate, exclaiming that at some point the money didn't matter. He got an ironclad no-trade clause in the contract. He earned his place in the Franchise All Time Top Ten on the field completely, but it is much more gratifying being able to list him here knowing that he wants to be here and he contributed to the team's success with the dollars he left on the table.