With pitchers like Justin Verlander and David Price absolutely dazzling in the American League last year, the MLB world seemed to forget about the extremely talented Jared Weaver. I don’t think there has ever been a 20-game winner who got less publicity than the Los Angeles Angels‘ ace did in 2012.
With Albert Pujols and rookie sensation Mike Trout both entering their second full seasons with the club, the buzz in LA should die down considerably, which will help pave the road to Weaver winning his first Cy Young award. The competition is fierce again this year, but if he posts similar numbers to what he did last year, he will be in the conversation.
Although he lead the league in wins, WHIP and H/9 innings, he still finished third in the voting behind the aforementioned aces. He started three fewer games than both Verlander and Price, but still posed an enormous threat.
The one thing that held him back last year was his unusually low strikeout total, fanning just 142 batters, which was his lowest mark since 2007. If spring training is any precursor to Weaver’s strikeout total in 2013, then I would suggest Angels fans hold on tight. In a games versus Team Italy on Wednesday, he had five strikeouts in just three innings of work. Hopefully this means he can return to the 233 strikeout total that he posted just two seasons ago.
He will have to face tougher teams than Team Italy this year because the Texas Rangers are always a thorn in his side and will be gunning for the Angels again in 2013. Weaver will be accompanied with more offense this season, but it will ultimately be up to him if he can finally capture a Cy Young award after finishing in the top five each of the last three years.