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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: LUKE WEAVER SP ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

The sophomore jinx is a real thing as we have seen countless times in yearly fantasy baseball leagues and the narrative is almost always the same.  A buzzy hitter or pitcher comes roaring up from the minors to dominate the opposition to instantly thrust themselves into early-round consideration the following season as visions of even more potent numbers dance in the heads of their prospective owners.  This is exactly what has taken place in 2018 with St. Louis Cardinals pitching prospect Luke Weaver who opened a bunch of eyes in 2017 when the former 2014 first-round pick came up to log a solid 3.88 ERA and overpower hitters to the tune of a 10.74 K/9.  Combining potent velocity and a vast four-pitch arsenal with the first-round pedigree made it almost a lock Weaver would be a solid asset for 2018 fantasy baseball purposes but as we continue to see, opposing hitters always seem to have an adjusted answer the next time around.  The numbers overall have been pretty brutal at times this season and Weaver goes into Tuesday's action possessing statistics that look as follows:

3-5
4.63 ERA
1.29 WHIP
8.18 K/9
3.09 BB/9
0.93 HR/9
.295 BABIP

The first thing that gains notice is the massive drop in K's and this has happened despite Weaver showing an actual IMPROVEMENT with his average fastball velocity this season.  That tells you opposing hitters are making Weaver go deeper into counts in waiting for their pitch and being less aggressive.  This has resulted in a spike in walks and put more baserunners on that are coming around to score since Weaver is also giving up more hits per inning.  With a neutral .295 BABIP, Weaver's ERA and WHIP are almost completely legitimate and so he has been pretty miserable no matter how you slice it.  The question is whether Weaver can turn things around and on that front, there is optimism considering he is just 24 and has that 94-mph fastball under his belt.  If Weaver can cut the walks a bit, he could quickly go back to being an impact arm.  I would not suggest trying to buy low though because we are already almost into June and so young arms like Weaver's tend to get tired around mid-August given the fact they have not thrown long MLB seasons like they are now.  So even if you do acquire Weaver, you may only get 2.5 months of decent production but that is not even guaranteed considering his struggles this season.


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