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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Better Know a Red #2 - David Weathers

This is part 2 of our ongoing 25 part series, Better Know a Red. Each post in the series features an in depth(ish) look at a different player from the Cincinnati Reds active roster. Explanations of the various statistics used in this series can be found on my Baseball Statistics Quicksheet. You can find links to that article, as well as all posts in the BKR series on the right sidebar.

Today, we turn our attention to 36 year old RHP David Weathers. Weathers was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays out of Motlow State Community College, Tennessee in the 3rd round of the 1988 amateur draft. He broke into the Blue Jays in 1991 at age 22, but got his first real shot as a spot starter/long reliever with the Florida Marlins in 1993. Subsequently, for much of the early part of his career, he bounced around to a number of organizations, primarily as a starter. He had little success in this role, although he was part of the 1996 New York Yankees championship team. The Reds acquired him for the first time in 1998 off waivers from the Cleveland Indians, but he was relatively ineffective as a starter/long reliever. Disenchanted with his poor performance, we allowed Milwaukee to claim him off waivers June 24th of that year, where he pitched out of the bullpen. And his career changed. Once he became a full-time reliver, he began a long streak of effective seasons for the Brewers, Cubs, Mets, Astros, and Marlins. One of his unique accomplishments is that he recorded the first-ever win by a Brewer in Miller Park, April 6, 2001.

The Cincinnati Reds signed him (again) as a free agent before the '05 season as part of a restructuring of our bullpen. He went on to become our de facto closer, saving 15 games after we released Danny Graves midseason. This year, Weathers begins the season as the head of our veteran-laden bullpen. He is apparently beginning to ponder retirement to spend time with his power-hitting son. Nevertheless, the Reds are counting on him to continue to be a stabilizing presence in the bullpen as they start to work younger players such as Coffey, Belisle, and Wagner into impact roles.

Historical Statistics
2003/NYN 87.7 7.7 4.1 0.62 0.315 3.08 3.95 4.06 21.6 52%
2004/NYN 33.7 6.7 4.0 1.34 0.330 4.28 5.16 5.06 5.5 44%
2004/HOU 32.0 7.3 3.7 1.41 0.289 4.78 5.11 5.34 0.2 50%
2004/FLO 16.7 5.4 3.8 1.08 0.244 2.70 4.82 5.24 2.1 51%
2005/CIN 77.7 7.1 3.4 0.81 0.276 3.94 4.00 4.15 11.6 52%
Weathers had an off year in '04 as he bounced around between three different teams (traded, released, and then signed as a free agent). But he rebounded in '05, putting up solid numbers - above average k-rate, average walks, and better than average HR's allowed. He induces roughly equal numbers of ground balls and fly balls, though when he was struggling in '04 he seemed to be giving up both more fly balls and more home runs. We will hope that he can replicate his '05 and '03 seasons this year, keeping the ball on the ground and eating up innings.

'03 through '05 splits
Category IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP ERA FIP
vs. Left 89 8.9 5.7 0.71 0.302 3.23 4.26
vs. Right 158 6.2 2.7 1.02 0.277 3.98 4.38
Home 123 8.1 3.5 1.17 0.291 4.33 4.40
Away 125 6.3 4.0 0.65 0.280 3.09 4.28
Consistent numbers across the board here. Weathers may strike out a few more lefties and allow fewer home runs to them, but he also walks lefties at a much higher rate that righties (I'm sure some of these are IBB's to get to a righty). Overall, not much of a left-right split, which is something you like to see from a late-inning reliever. Home/Away splits are basically irrelevant for him given that he's played for 4 ballclubs over the past 3 years.

PECOTA75 66.0 6.7 3.4 0.82 0.282 3.46 4.03 3.99 12.8 50%
PECOTA 60.0 6.6 3.6 1.05 0.295 4.24 4.45 4.58 5.9 50%
PECOTA25 49.0 6.4 3.9 1.29 0.313 5.38 4.91 5.46 -2.0 50%
ZiPS 81.0 7.0 3.8 1.00 0.283 4.56 4.35 --- --- ---
Unsurprisingly, given his age (he will be 37 by season's end), the projections do predict something of a decline for Weathers, mainly in terms of increased HR rates and perhaps lower K rates. I still anticipate that he will be an effective reliever this year, though his relatively poor spring (0-1, 5.73 ERA in 11 innings) that traces back to an offseason finger injury do cause me some concern. Nevertheless, regardless of his performance this year, we may not want to count on him for much help beyond the '06 season.

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