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Is Weigel A Seventh-Round Steal?

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Patrick Weigel (Photo by Morris Fostoff) Patrick Weigel is 9-4, 2.66 at low Class A Rome (Photo by Morris Fostoff)[/caption] Have a question for Ask BA? Tweet it to J.J. (@jjcoop36) or email it to
Q:Is Patrick Weigel just old for his level or is there real potential there? Kevin M. Los Angeles @aplaceforfacts BA:Weigel has been dominant this year in his first full season as a pro. He’s leading the South Atlantic League with a .206 opponents average against and ranks fourth among Sally League starters with 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings. At 9-4, 2.66 he also ranks fifth in the league in ERA. As a 22-year-old, Weigel is a little old for the league, but there is a logical reason why he hasn’t been pushed more aggressively. Weigel had an up-and-down college career, so the Braves have left him in Rome to build up a base of success. He might be a little older than some of his teammates, but on one of the best pitching staffs in the minors, Weigel’s pure stuff is as good as anyone else in the Rome rotation. Weigel has always been known for having outstanding velocity, but often the velo has come with bottom-of-the-scale control. Weigel posted an 8.03 ERA and walked 27 in 33 innings as a freshman at Pacific in 2013. He transferred to Oxnard (Calif.) JC for his sophomore year and had the same problems–he posted a 5-3, 3.39 record, but he walked 65 in 61 innings. The Brewers drafted him in the 22nd round out of Oxnard but were unable to sign him. He went to Houston and did show some significant improvement with his control, walking 21 in 51 innings out of the Cougars bullpen, but there was still enough concern about his delivery and control to cause him to slide to the seventh round in the 2015 draft. A little more than a year later, Weigel looks to be a steal. He throws four pitches, but it’s his fastball and slider that are the standouts. Everything begins with a 94-99 mph fastball with arm-side run. That sets up a mid-80s sharp slider with plus potential. Weigel calls it a slider and it’s a hard pitch, but it generally has more downward break than sweep, so it is as much a power curve as it is a hard slider. Weigel also throws a more traditional 11-to-5 curveball that’s bigger and slower (it sits in the mid-70s). After largely shelving his changeup when pitching as a reliever in college, he’s working on it again. It’s a little hard, but has some fade. Weigel’s slider is the pitch that low Class A hitters have few answer for. While most righthanders like to get hitters to chase sliders that start off over the plate and dive outside, Weigel is actually more comfortable pitching inside to righthanded hitters with it. At its best, Weigel starts his slider at a hitter's hip or rib cage, letting the pitch diving into the strike zone. It plays well with the run on his fastball, as he can jam righthanded hitters with the fastball that starts over the plate and runs in on their hands, while the slider starts off the plate inside before sliding into the zone. Weigel’s control and command are still a concern. He misses high a lot, has some trouble locating to his glove side (away to righthanded hitters/inside to lefthanded hitters) and while his walk rate has improved steadily, he’s still walking 3.3 batters per nine innings. Weigel has worked with pitching coordinator Chuck Hernandez and Rome pitching coach Dan Meyer to stay direct to the plate and to keep his release point consistent. “When I get in trouble I get rotational and lower my arm angle,” he said. “One thing we’ve really worked on is staying on top of the ball and staying direct to the plate.” Weigel said the regular work of pitching every fifth day and the side sessions that come with it have helped him develop consistency. “Going out there every fifth day and competing. I’ve really grown into my own,” Weigel said. “I’m much more comfortable with my delivery and my body.” If the control doesn’t continue to get better, Weigel should have at least a future as a power reliever relying on his lively fastball and his power slider in shorter stints. But there are plenty of reasons to see him as a starting pitching prospect as well. While his delivery has a little effort and there are the control concerns, Weigel has the strength to maintain his delivery and his velocity in longer stints–he’s throwing as hard in the seventh as he does in the first. While many pitchers wilt as their first full season wraps up, Weigel looks just as strong in August as he did in April. And while his changeup still needs work, he's held lefthanded hitters to a .582 OPS, even better than the .608 OPS righthanded hitters have posted. Coming into the season, Weigel appeared to be the afterthought on a Rome rotation that now includes Max Fried, Touki Toussaint, Kolby Allard, Ricardo Sanchez and Mike Soroka.
Orlando Arcia Getty

Brewers Acquire Patrick Weigel, Chad Sobotka From Braves For Orlando Arcia

Scouting reports on every player involved in today's Milwaukee Brewers-Atlanta Braves trade.

As a 22-year-old with Division I experience and a fastball that grades as a 70 on the 20-to-80 scouting scale, Weigel should dominate low Class A hitters. He’ll need to keep proving it as he moves up the development ladder, but Weigel’s stuff is big league caliber.

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