Originally posted on Fantasy Baseball 365  |  Last updated 3/2/12

Key Stats: For the second straight season, Jered Weaver was a top 20 overall player. Last year Weaver got there a different way than he had the season before. His strikeout total fell by 35 strikeouts, but his ERA went down by 0.60.

Skeptics Say: The ERA going down as far as it did was based heavily on luck. Weaver’s FIP was 3.20. His teammate Dan Haren (who has the same fielders behind him) had an ERA that was higher than his FIP. When you also add in Weaver’s nearly 2 K/9 drop off last season, it would appear that getting back to the top twenty overall rankings is unlikely.

Peer Comparison: I was originally going to rank Cole Hamels below Weaver, but had a change of heart. Weaver had 4 more strikeouts and Hamels had a WHIP that was 0.02 lower than Weaver. Call it a wash there. Then consider the wins. Weaver had four more than Hamels. Given that the Angels and Phillies are both expected to win around 90 games this season, the difference between these two players in that category is negligible too. The two factors that are on Hamels’ side are ERA (Weaver’s was technically better last year, but luck was on his side as was mentioned above) and a contract to play for.

Team Outlook: The impact of Pujols will be felt throughout the Angels batting order. Vernon Wells will have less pressure on him this season and the Angels are hoping a change in his batting stance and approach this season will help be a bounce back candidate this season. Sound like a stretch? Maybe it is, but Weaver needs some optimism. He received the 91st best run support in baseball out of 94 qualifiers.

What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #8 Starting Pitcher; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #7 Starting Pitcher & #26 Overall; Yahoo: #9 Starting Pitcher & #35 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #8 Starting Pitcher & #46 Overall; RotoChamp: #29 Overall

Projection: The BABIP and HR:FB will come up, and the stranded runners won’t be as stranded next season. Still, this is a number one starter in a mixed league.

18 wins 3.06 ERA 1.08 WHIP 209 K in 225 innings

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