St. Louis Cardinals: Luke Weaver is Ready

Feb 25, 2016; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Luke Weaver (83) during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 25, 2016; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Luke Weaver (83) during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

With the St. Louis Cardinals’ need for consistency in the bullpen, a look towards Luke Weaver could be in the works.

St. Louis Cardinals‘ fans have been treated with great prospects and especially on the pitching side. All of the attention has been on Alex Reyes of late and for good reason, he is the system’s shining gem as their #1 prospect and is one of the top ten prospects in all of MLB.

However, there is a pitcher who is a tad bit closer than Alex Reyes is right now. That pitcher would be Luke Weaver. In the past I have been up and down on Weaver’s talent. After his first season in the system, I thought and had predicted that he was going to push to make the St. Louis Cardinals major league roster at some point in the 2015 season.

I was wrong, dead wrong in fact. Weaver spent the entire 2015 season with A+ Palm Beach, and while he finished the year with an astounding 1.62 ERA and a 1.111 WHIP, he had a hiccup with injuries that caused him to make just 19 starts.

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This gave the St. Louis Cardinals reason to want to see more from the young right-hander as they sent him off to play in the Arizona Fall League with the Surprise Saguaros. This is where my opinion of Weaver went down a bit, as Weaver had an ERA of 3.72 in seven total appearances (two starts). It’s not the numbers that necessarily had me down it was how he looked in the AFL.

While Weaver had been mowing hitters down in the Florida State League, Weaver’s pitches looked flat and he seemed to rely heavily on his fastball that didn’t seem to have a lot of movement on it. In many ways, Weaver reminded me of Michael Wacha, a pitcher with an inconsistent fastball but impressive breaking pitch that becomes useless when the fastball isn’t consistent. 

However, Weaver has impressed in a big way this year. In a league and ballpark where you would expect him to have slightly higher numbers, he has impressed by posting an ERA of 1.31 and a ridiculously absurd 1.53 FIP for the AA Springfield Cardinals. In true Luke Weaver fashion, he has only allowed one homer on the year and has only walked eight batters in 55 innings pitched.

Weaver has also increased his amount strikeouts this season, as he has 65 already this season, after striking out 88 a season before. This has increased his K/9 to 10.64 from his 7.52 number last season. All of these numbers are quite impressive when you consider that hitters have a .329 BABIP against him; while posting a .234 batting average against.

I can’t even imagine what Weaver’s numbers would look like if he had a more realistic BABIP against him.

While Weaver’s numbers have been absolutely impressive, this apparently wasn’t good enough for the St. Louis Cardinals to consider calling the young righty up to make a spot start today. Regardless, Weaver is making some noise to be a consideration to at least take Mike Mayers‘ spot in Memphis if he stays with the St. Louis Cardinals for any length of time after today’s game.

Next: Alex Reyes is Not Ready

While many believe that Weaver may need some time in AAA before he makes the jump to the major league club, Weaver could be an added piece in the bullpen for the Cardinals down the stretch. With him touching 93-95 as a starter, it is not out of this world to expect 95-97 out of the pen.

Especially given the incredible disappointment that Mike Mayers is giving us now. The Cardinals have to consider giving Weaver a promotion.