The Clemson lefty has become the ace and is doing a good job of it. It is fitting he pitch like this considering Weatherly is from Michigan and watched his favorite player Justin Verlander pitch in his prime for the Tigers. In his first four starts of 2020, Weatherly put up an astounding 17.43 K/9 rate striking out 43 hitters in 22.2 innings pitched. In that same time frame, Weatherly allowed just 7 hits equating to 2.83 H/9. One of those starts was against Carmen Mlodzinski and South Carolina who he held hitless through 7.0 innings striking out 11.
The only issue that holds Weatherly back from being mentioned as one of the top left-handed pitchers in the country is his control. Weatherly is walking hitters at a rate higher than 5.00. Some would argue that it doesn’t matter if you aren’t giving up hits, but the old adage about making teams earn their base runners still holds true today. If you walk to guys it just takes one hit to beat you.
Weatherly has been up to 95 in several of his early starts making a lot of scouts wonder what exactly he can become. If he continues to throw 93 to 95 with some control issues, he is probably a Day Two talent. If Weatherly irons out his control and works 90 to 93, he is probably a Day Two talent. If he does both, he will be a first round pick.
Weatherly was working 91 to 93 early in the year dipping at times to 89 and spiking at times to 95. His fastball has good carry and doesn’t have much sink. There is some arm side run to the pitch.
Weatherly also throws a change up that can be really deceptive. Again, there isn’t much sink on this pitch but it has some arm side run. It is consistently 10 mph off his fastball velocity which is exactly the velocity differential you want between the two pitches. Hitter’s often tell you how good a pitch is and many hitters simply do not pick this pitch up quickly enough.
Weatherly’s swing and miss pitch is his slider. He throws it for swings and misses against hitters from each side of the plate. Like his change, hitters have a really hard time picking up the spin on this pitch. It moves hard and late away from left-handed hitters and into right-handed hitters. This pitch has a lot of horizontal movement and a good amount of vertical movement as well. It sends hitters back to the dugout.
Weatherly uses a simple leg lift starting with his hands in front of his chest. He uses a three-quarter delivery from the middle of the rubber. Weatherly is very smooth and strides toward the left-handed hitters batter’s box throwing slightly across his body. It works and makes him very deceptive.
Weatherly has a classic lefty pick off move. By classic, I mean look to home, lift the leg, throw to first or look to first, lift the leg, throw the pitch. It is an average move but works. I didn’t see anyone try to run first move against him so I don’t know if he has the ability to hang and read the runner.
Overall, Weatherly is a polished pitcher with really good stuff and a control issue. His walks come in groups and he seems to just lose it for a few hitters every once in a while. In his start against rival South Carolina, Weatherly had thrown nine balls in 3.0 innings before suddenly walking two hitters on eight pitches. But, he pulled it together, and dominated the SEC opponent. A team will be gambling on the stuff and hoping Weatherly can figure out the command. He may end up in the pen if he doesn’t get his control figured out.
Weatherly is a guy who should be available at 41 but not at 76. I really like him because his stuff is so good. Good hitters are telling me they have a really hard time squaring him up despite his control issues. Pitchers like that get really good at winning when they figure out how not throw a bunch of balls. Trust me, I was one of those guys. It just takes some maturity and that will come sooner rather than later for Weatherly. He would be a solid addition for the Royals.
The draft is tomorrow. Take a look at some of the other guys I’ve written up here!
Image from the Post and Courier taken by Allen Sharpe.