|Jered Weaver began his pro career in June 2005 with Rancho Cucamonga, but finished the year pitching in the Texas League playoffs for Arkansas.|
Jered Weaver was selected by the Angels in the first round of the June 2004 draft, passed up by eleven other teams who thought him unsignable because his advisor was notorious super-agent Scott Boras.
For nearly a year, it looked like those eleven teams were right as Weaver sat on the sidelines holding out until the signing deadline one week before the June 2005 draft.
Literally at the last hour, Weaver signed a minor league contract for a $4 million bonus, and reported to High-A Rancho Cucamonga where he began to pitch back into shape. Jered appeared in his first game on June 20, and after seven starts was promoted to Double-A Arkansas in late July.
The Travelers, meanwhile, were a tale of two halves. They finished 34-36 in the Texas League East Division’s first half, last in the four-team division. But in the second half, the Travs finished first with a 37-33 record. In addition to Weaver, other future Angels leading the team were first baseman Kendry Morales, catcher Mike Napoli, outfielders Tommy Murphy and Reggie Willits, shortstop Erick Aybar, and second baseman Howie Kendrick.
So in the first round of the East Division playoffs, the Travs faced the Tulsa Drillers, who’d won the first half.
Arkansas swept the series 3-0, the final win with Jered Weaver on the mound turning in one of his best starts of 2005.
One year later, Weaver was in the major leagues, finishing his first major league season at 11-2 with a 2.56 ERA in 19 starts.
This week’s Minor League Game of the Week features Weaver’s playoff start against Tulsa, called by Travs broadcaster Phil Elson.
Next week, we’ll begin with replays of selected games from the 2006 season.