There's more to pitching than having a big fastball. Luke Weaver knows this. He has flashed one in the past, but hasn't been one to use it much. He would touch 96-97 last year, but has been sitting 90-92 while touching 94-95 this year. What he's done to have success instead of the big fastball is using his what we call pitchability.
Weaver knows how to attack hitters by using his fastball on both sides of the plate and mixing his pitches well. He relies heavily on a change up that his coach calls a plus pitch. He's comfortable with it in any count and is not afraid to use it. It's the art of pitching. You have to change speeds. You have to keep hitters guessing. That's what Weaver does.
He is likely to be a finese pitcher in the pros as well. He just isn't imposing on the mound and his velocity dip indicates that he may not be able to be a regular mid-90's type pitcher. He's 6'2" and 180 pounds. He's rail thin with sloped shoulders. There's some weight to gain, but not a whole lot.
Mechanically, he doesn't do anything funky really. It's a quick delivery and he doesn't get much extension anywhere. So, there are some flaws to it. Nothing that I'd consider a red flag. Just that I think he is leaving some force on the table and not transmitting up the chain efficiently. That could be why he isn't hitting the velocity of last year.
Back to his stuff, we already talked about the velocity. But, what else is there is that he has good horizontal movement. The change up is his second pitch and is well ahead of the slider. Problem is that change up track records for transitioning to pro ball is sketchy. The breaking ball is a slider that has a wide range of grades due to its inconsistency. When on, it flashes plus and has more of a downward break as opposed to the large horizontal break of some sliders. It's more likely an average pitch at best.
Weaver has shown dominance in the past with a sub 2 BB/9 and 10+ K/9 last year which got him on the U.S. College National Team to pitch along side Carlos Rodon and others in the offseason. However, with the decline in velocity, so has his numbers. His BB/9 remains under 2, but barely, and his K/9 dropped to 7.19.
Middle reliever. Low-90's fastball with good control of all pitches can at least get some weak contact for an inning.
I suspect back of the rotation, but I can see some thinking they can revive the fastball velocity and sharpen the slider enough for a middle of the rotation type. I've seen some hang Tim Hudson comps to him, which I find extremely optimistic.
Projected Draft Round
He seems locked for a top 50 pick. Whether thats late first, compensation round, or early second round will depend on how a team sold on his ceiling.
Will he sign?
I don't really see him not signing, unless he loves it at Florida State so much he wants to go back. He does love it there and is praised for his laid back and easy going attitude that helps lighten the club house and puts a smile on the teams face.
Summary: Luke Weaver is my dark horse in this draft. He has a lot of good pieces and if he puts them together, Weaver will become a very good pitcher. I see him as a #1/#2 type but could become a pure #1 if things go right. I have heard comps on him like Brett Saberhagen and Tim Hudson.
Weaver hit 97 with his fastball this summer and has an above-average change-up, although will have to improve his slurvy breaking-ball to profile as a starter at the next level.
"The big velocity that arose last year, the 96s and 7s, has not been there," Bell said. "But when he needs to go get it, he can go get a 4 or 5 when he needs it. He’s going to pitch 90-92, three quality pitches. The change is a plus pitch, and he can throw it anytime he wants to against righties and lefties. The slider has shown plus at times, other times it’s just average, but he complements it very well with a plus change for a quality three-pitch mix. It’s command of the fastball to both sides of the plate, and more than anything he knows how to compete. He’s probably one of the most athletic pitchers I’ve ever coached, and he holds runners well."