2004 MLB Draft Interview: Jered Weaver Part II

Jered Weaver has torn through the opposition this season playing for Long Beach State. Had they been able to throw the right-hander out there everyday, they would be shoe-ins for a National Title. They aren't that lucky, but as long as Weaver is playing, he won't have to worry about whether the San Diego Padres select him first in the 2004 MLB Amateur Draft, no longer a certainty.

Currently, Jered Weaver is just a college kid with a great arm. He has been the poster boy for a brilliant season and is the face of Long Beach State Athletics and earned at least one National Player of the Year honor for his impressive '04 season.

His stats have been off the charts, but it isn't about the recognition that has earned him Louisville Slugger Player of the Week honors six times.

"Individual honors are nice, but it's all about the team for me," Weaver said. "Our goal is to get to Omaha, and I'm going to do everything I can to do that."

Another story within the story there is the character of the young prospect. Having that mentality now will aid his future. And it is a future that could begin quickly after the draft.

Kevin Towers, General Manager of the Padres, said Weaver could potentially play in the Majors this year.

It is rare that any pitcher goes straight to the Majors and those who do often find greatnesss.

But Weaver has the pedigree. He has a brother who is currently pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jeff Weaver. Ironic that it is the rival of a team that is contemplating picking him number one overall, the San Diego Padres.

In a way, this is familiar territory for Jered. Living vicariously through his brother has helped him meet the challenges of today.

"With Jeff, I remember a lot of phone calls (prior to the draft) and stuff like that," Weaver recalled. "He had to stay focused. Like now, you deal with stuff when the time comes. It was hard when he and I were growing up because we were six years apart. Every time I wanted to hang out with him, I was always too young and it was definitely hard, but I have always looked up to him and he has always been there. It's awesome to have a Major League player to go to for advice on pitching. He always has been my role model, along with my father."

And the prospect of facing Weaver as a member of the rival Padres?

Weaver deflects the question as cool as his demeanor on the mound, "There's not too many times the whole family gets to see both of us pitch. At CS Northridge earlier this season, all my family was there, a day after we all saw Jeff at Dodger Stadium. It was cool."

Weaver is no lock to be chosen by San Diego despite the impressive stats. Think the Tigers and Mets sitting behind the Padres might be salivating just a little?

Denis Savage can be reached at denis@sandiegosports.net

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