2004 MLB Draft Prospect Interview: Jered Weaver

At Petco Park, during the Aztec Invitational in March, Jered Weaver was quite animated during one particular inning and it looked like he was pointing at some of the UCLA fans in attendance, or maybe it was Weaver pointing at Kevin Towers, the General Manager of the San Diego Padres, who was in attendance and owns the first overall pick in the 2004 MLB Draft.<br><br> "It was unbelievable," said Weaver. "It was the first Big League Park I have ever pitched in my career!"

"The first couple of innings were breathtaking," Weaver said of the new park.

He had plenty of chances to check out the field as he struck out 15 on the day and spent the rest of the night on the mound looking around while his next victim walked to the plate.

"To me, the mound is like sacred ground," Weaver confided. "You don't want anyone to walk on it. I'm a mellow guy, but when I get on that mound I'm the biggest competitor in terms of trying to keep my team in the game."

And boy did he ever show up any competition. Jeff Weaver was beyond dominant. Over eight innings he allowed one hit. It was just another start to him.

Kevin Towers sat watching a dominant performance and commented that it would be hard for anyone to unseat Weaver from the number one spot. He has been that good this year. But what about the Long Beach State product, is he even paying attention to what is going on around him?

"Hopefully we're still playing in June so I don't have to worry about it," Weaver said. "The draft is great and this is what I have been waiting for, but I just have to take it one step at a time. We still have a goal to get to Omaha, and that's my first goal right now. Whatever happens, happens."

Weaver can say all that because his sixth ranked Dirtbags are on their way to Omaha if they ride along for Weaver's magnificent season. Weaver is 14-0 with a 1.27 ERA. In 113.1 innings he has struck out 171 with just 14 walks allowed and 55 hits. Opponents are hitting just .142 against him.

He is only following the footsteps of a 2003 summer season pitching for Team USA. He had 45.2 consecutive scoreless innings and a record 0.38 ERA.

And it was that confidence coming out of the summer that pushed Weaver on this season. It was a boost to his psyche and he has never looked back.

"I had a lot of confidence going into this season after having a good summer with Team USA," Weaver confirmed. "I try to do everything one pitch at a time and keep my mind squarely on that thought pattern. Everything has come together this season. Hopefully it will continue."

Weaver has proven his consistency with six National Player of the Week awards this year alone. He has six wins over top 30 teams and 11 games in which he has struck out ten or more.

Last week, Weaver retired 21 in a row, giving up just one run on two hits, while striking out eight. It marked the second consecutive game that he has given up just two hits in a game.

The culmination would be a trip to Omaha and a National Championship coupled with being selected first in the draft by the San Diego Padres.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

MadFriars Top Stories