Tuesday, August 11, 2009
September Call-up — Jon Weber — Part One
Watching Durham Bulls Baseball is going to step away from its usual monomaniacal focus on the Durham Bulls and how they are doing as a team. Instead I want talk about a September call-up for one of the members of the team, Jon Weber. Our usual focus is on whatever it takes to win games and get into the playoffs. Obviously Weber staying with the Bulls would make a difference in that effort. Nevertheless, we want to make an exception for this gifted ballplayer. We will try to do that by convincing our readers (and fellow bloggers) why it should be done (Part One) and with some help, I hope, figure out how it can be done (Part Two, sometime in the future).
First of all, let’s talk about the kind of career year that Jon Weber is having. As of August 11th, he has played in 100 of the Bulls’ 116 games. Most of his starts were in the outfield (51) or as the designated hitter (39). The majority of his outfield starts were in left field where his is a master of the DBAP’s Blue Monster. He has 83 put outs and 7 assists (the foolish batter trying to stretch a wall ball into a double).
At the plate his batting average is .293, second on the team behind Rhyne Hughes (a fairly recent call-up from AA Montgomery who has been in 52 games and is batting .325).
Jon’s On Base Percentage is .376 drawing 48 walks and 6 hits by a pitch in his 382 plate appearances. He is tied for the team lead in OBP with Hughes.
He’s second to Ruggiano in RBIs with 57 to Ruggiano’s 61, and third in OPS at .861, third to Rhyne Hugh’s .934 and Chris Richard’s .877.
His most startling stat is his doubles — 40 — the best in the International League (he also leads the International League in extra base hits).
I first saw Weber when he came to the Bulls in 2007. What struck me then was his sheer energy and aggressiveness. By that time he was in this eighth year as a pro including a year in the PCL. What he seemed to bring to the team (as best as I could tell from my distant seat in the stands) was humor, leadership, and a real grasp of the basics of working an at-bat, smart, agressive base running and considerable power and discipline at the plate. I think he can take a lot of the credit for the Bulls winning the Southern Division and getting into the playoffs in both years.
I have written quite a bit about Jon since starting WDBB this year. Some of it was effort at humor regarding his hair (or lack thereof) and his unfortunate tendancy to inadvertently launch bats in the general direction of my seat at the DBAP. But I have also pointed out on numerous occasions, starting with his non-roster invitation to Spring Training, the contributions he is making this year's team.
I appreciate how rare it is for a veteran AAA ballplayer to get a shot at the majors after his “prospect” years, but I am convinced he would make a difference to this year’s Rays.
To that end, I’d like for my fellow bloggers over at Triangle Offense, Rays Index, RaysProspects, The Rays Party, Stacy Long over at The Montgomery Advertiser, and others to take a look at Jon’s record this year and his profile.
In my next post I’ll talk some about the how of making this happen: stuff like the 40-man roster, an appreciation of what the Rays need in September, and some of the other Bulls who might also have a shot.