The 6'7" star righty of the Los Angeles Angels, Jered Weaver, has some pretty impressive numbers so far this season. He's 9-4 with a 2.01 ERA. Batters are hitting just .193 against him and slugging a miniscule .280.
As of today, the average slugging percentage against right-handed pitchers by left-handed batters in the American League is .411. The average slugging percentage against right-handed pitchers by right-handed batters in the American League is .368.
Here's what the slugging throughout the league looks like:
Here's what slugging against Weaver looks like:
Now let's see how Weaver uses those 79 inches of height of his. Think of Weaver, elevated on the mound, and how powerful he is when he comes from over-the-top and delivers the ball to the bottom third of the plate.
Bottom third of the plate:
When he delivers the ball to that bottom third, he is almost unhittable holding batters to a .147 average and a .176 slugging percentage. Righties have barely hit him here, held to a .105 pace and slugged just .123. Lefties are only better in comparison at .177/.215.
Okay, no pitcher is that perfect that he can consistently place that ball where he wants to and as a result Weaver, like every other pitcher pays the price.
Top third of the plate:
Weaver has a terrific fastball and batters chase it up here. He has a .200 BAA and his .317 slugging against is still outstanding. Both lefties and righties hit .200 against him when he is up here. Lefties slug .300, righties interestingly do better at .329.
Finally, let's look at that middle third:
Even with Weaver's great season thus far, you can see that this is not where Weaver wants to be. Weaver's stuff is so good that even when his pitches are in the middle of the plate, batters are only able to hit .230 against him and slug .349. Righties are hitting .167 and slug .267. But, lefties do much better hitting .272 and slugging .402. Clearly if this is where he is pitching, Weaver is in for a long night.
Keeping the ball down is clearly the key for Weaver as he progress through games and throughout the season as fatigue sets in.