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April 9, 2013

BP Unfiltered

Angels Lose Weaver

by R.J. Anderson

Angels ace Jered Weaver will miss at least the next four weeks after fracturing the elbow in his glove arm during his most recent start, Sunday night in Texas, according to ESPN.

Whenever a large-payroll team suffers a significant loss the reaction is to ponder the trade possibilities. The April market figures to be quiet and the one pitcher know to be available, the Rockies Aaron Harang, is reportedly not under consideration by Jerry Dipoto. Instead Dipoto will turn to Garrett Richards, who had been pitching out of Los Angeles of Anaheim's bullpen.

Richards is a Weaver clone in two regards, as he lands closed in his delivery and he features flowing locks. Beyond those trivial matters the two are nothing alike. Weaver is one of the game's only aces with subpar fastball velocity; Richards' arm strength is his best asset and allows him to pump heat all day and night. Beyond the plus fastball Richards' arsenal has been called shallow, though he does have an at-times monstrous slider and a below-average changeup. The other knock on Richards throughout his prospect days was a tendency to be loose in the zone. Overall the package suggests a future as a number-four starter or late-innings reliever.

Of course a number-four starter does not replace Weaver's contributions. But this is a stretch of about six starts, including one at home against the Astros. Just about anything can happen during a six-start span. To wit here are the ERAs from Weaver's 30 starts separated into six-game intervals:

1.61

3.56

1.99

4.58

2.67

Richards is probably not going to match the best of those stretches. If he lives up to his PECOTA ERA projection, of 4.51, then he'd have the second-worst. Still, it should be said that Weaver's projected ERA (3.04) would be the third-worst, and Harang's (4.44) would also come in as the second-worst. So yes, the Angels are worse with Richards than Weaver—though Richards could surprise us all with an unlikely Weaver-esque run of starts— and they may be worse off with Richards instead of Harang—though the difference between those two is almost imperceptible. 

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

Related Content:  Angels,  Jered Weaver,  Garrett Richards,  Aaron Harang

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