I was doing some research for the Fake Teams Dynasty League draft last night, after a wonderful Thanksgiving at my wife's cousins house, and came across Jered Weaver in one of my searches over at FanGraphs.
Weaver had a lucky season in 2012, and could be a candidate to let down fantasy owners in 2012. Weaver went 18-8 with a 2.41 ERA, 3.20 FIP and a 3.80 xFIP, and a WHIP of 1.01. But there are some reasons to second guess his successful season on the mound in 2011.
First, in my opinion, the drop in strikeout rate from 9.35 to 7.56 is concerning, but looking at his K rate in prior years, his 2010 rate appears to be a one year occurence as he never struck out more than 8 batters per nine innings since his time in the minors.
More after the jump:
Second, his strand rate was an absurd 82.6% in 2011. Many ace starting pitchers have above average strand rates, but not many can maintain one above 80% from year to year. I see his strand rate, or LOB% on FanGraphs, dropping to around the 75% level, so his ERA should rise as a result.
Third, he doesn't get a lot of ground balls, and pitchers who don't induce enough ground balls usually give up plenty of fly balls. We all know fly ball pitchers are prone to the home run ball, and his could increase in 2012. Weaver's home run rate has dropped in each of the last two seasons from 8.3% in 2009 to 7.8% in 2010 to 6.3% in 2011, but I am not sure a pitcher can control home runs. I think ballparks might be the better barometer for limiting home runs.
Finally, his swinging strike rate dropped to the lowest since 2007, from 11.2% in 2010 to 9.1% in 2011. His outside the zone contact rate dropped slightly from 33.5% to 31.8%, but his zone (from 79.7% to 84.8%) and total contact rates (from 75.4% to 79.5%) jumped in 2011, so if this trend continues, some of that contact could result in more hits and runs.
All of these taken together tell me Jered Weaver could be a candidate to regress and underperform his draft round in 2012.