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.


  1. Well written, and I agree that he deserves the call up.

    I vaguely remember a homestand earlier this year (I think it was the first week of June) in which the game program featured Weber as the Spotlight Player (or whatever they call it). I remember it saying that Jon had never attended a MLB game and would not until he got called up.

    Is that true? Or, am I going crazy and making things up?

  2. I agree that Jon should be a September call up. He is Durhams version of "Mr. Hustle". I can think of a few Rays outfielders that can learn a few things from him.

  3. I love Weber. He's such a great influence on the younger guys and he's got skills. My seats are on the 3rd baseline so we see him upclose on those wall balls. It's a treat to see such a veteran day in and day out, but I just don't see him going up.

    The Rays need pitching late in the year and are loaded with outfielders. I wish Weber could play another position. Being lefthanded might help, but whose spot could he fill?

    He should start working on a knuckleball right now!

    I hope he gets at least a taste of the majors before he hangs up the spikes and moves into coaching, which is the destination for which I think the Rays organization is grooming him. But I just can't see any opportunity for him right now at the top level.

  4. Sure, Weber is a good, aggressive player, but he really needs to get a grip, and not just on his bat. The thing that might be holding him back is his attitude.

    He can be very dramatic at times, particularly at bat. Look at him huffing and puffing, baserunning, etc.

    As for hustle, he has it but doesn't always display it. I have seen him in left field not even reach over to get a ball more than once.

    Do the Rays need more attitude?

  5. Don't recall reading that item about never being in a big league ballpark. Obviously I'd like to seem him in one soonest.

  6. Well, I am searching all over the web for some evidence of what I think I remember reading, and haven't found anything yet. So, maybe I did make it up without realizing it (though I will keep reading). I did however, find a Red Sox's blog (thefoulline.com) that refers to Weber as "public enemy #1 in a post from about a year and a half ago. Don't really know what he did to upset them.

  7. Weber deserves some big league time

    He has earned it good luck to him

  8. It would be GREAT to see Weber in Tampa Bay for some of Sept. But remember, it's LaLoosh who gets called up at the end, not Crash.

  9. Thanks for your comments. This one was why. Now I've made an effort at "how" in a new post. Jump in if you see better options or, especially, if I've missed something important.

  10. the guys killing it he deserves a shot play him while hes hot plus look at the teams hes played on i think just about everyone has reached a championship

  11. The last comment made is right on....Jon is a winner. Wherever he goes he wins, from high school to the minors the guy is a winner. I believe you have to give this guy a shot. I know Jon personnally, a few years ago he told me he just wanted his chance to show what he could do. And why not, he has done it at every level. Give him a shot