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2019 Atlanta Braves Season in Review: Patrick Weigel

Patrick has made his way back all the way to Atlanta this year

MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets at Atlanta Braves Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Weigel was drafted in the seventh round of the 2015 MLB draft out of the University of Houston. He was named the Organizational Pitcher of the Year in 2016 after laying waste to South Atlantic League. He skipped Florida and went right to Mississippi that year. He started 2017 in Mississippi and moved on to Gwinnett. Watch Patrick here finishing off seven innings versus the Mud Hens in July 2017.

That is where the ascent of Patrick Weigel took a hiatus. He visited James Andrews and missed 13 months because of Tommy John surgery. Patrick started this season in Mississippi.

What were the expectations?

Patrick was the No. 15 on the 2019 Pre-season Top 30 Prospect List. Here were the staff’s expectations:

It also remains to be seen how the Braves will handle his workload this year, as it’ll be his first full season back from TJS. He’s likely to start in Triple-A, and could eventually earn a call-up as a reliever since he is on the 40 man roster to keep his innings down. Whether it’s starting or relieving, it’s good to have him back.

I personally toyed around with the idea that he could be an opener for Sean Newcomb, as he could be a right-handed complement to Sean.

What went right in 2019?

Patrick started eighteen games in Double-A and Triple-A, slowly increasing his innings each start. Starting with a 30 pitch limit, he increased it to 50 and then 90. Patrick had three starts of five innings. His best start results-wise was July 6. In this game, he gave one run on a homer, two other hits, and four strikeouts. His velocity came roaring back to the upper 90s as well. He also achieved his goal for 2019:

“My number one goal this year was to not get hurt and to stay healthy,” Weigel said. “So far I have not had any setbacks. I didn’t have any closure on ending rehab until I was back here (in Gwinnett). To be able to hit that milestone, I was able to finally put the rehab behind me.”

Patrick did indeed make the active roster as a reliever in 2019. He was promoted twice, once in July and once in August.

What went wrong in 2019?

Patrick slaughtered the Southern League but had a tougher time at Gwinnett. He had trouble throwing strikes, walking nearly one out of every eight hitters (12.2%). He had an ERA/FIP split of 2.98/5.58 at Gwinnett. Sure, 63 1/3 IP is a relatively small sample but 83.3% LOB% doesn’t seem sustainable. He did make it to Atlanta twice, but failed to make an appearance. So I don’t have any video of him in a regular season game. I imagine he consumed sunflower seeds, but I don’t have video of that either.

What to expect in 2020?

I expect the Braves to fully remove the bandages from Weigel in 2020. It’s likely that 2019 was an long workout for the next stage of his career. He threw nearly 150 innings in 2016, so I would expect him to top the 79 he had this last year. He has an upper 90s fastball, a 55 FV slider per Fangraphs, and a nice curve with some 12 to 6 action. If he can harness his arsenal, he is primed to be an excellent bullpen arm next year, or a productive starter in years to come.

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