In making his first Opening Day roster, Jordan Weems has taken the final step in his conversion to the mound.
A third round selection of the Boston Red Sox in 2011, Jordan Weems was looked upon as a possible long term answer behind the plate. An excellent defensive catcher with a strong throwing arm, it was hoped that Weems’ offense would develop over time, allowing him to ascend the ranks.
While his arm and defensive capabilities remained, the offense never developed. Weems was unable to get past AA, posting a career .207/.306/.262 batting line. In his 1180 plate appearances, he hit just 41 doubles, three triples, and three homers. That production, even with his solid defense, was not enough.
But that arm… Weems’ strong arm still intrigued the Red Sox, leading to his conversion to the mound. He immediately showed promise, overpowering the competition with a mid 90s fastball. Weems also worked to develop a slider and changeup, although he is still refining both offerings.
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Signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to the major league portion of spring training, Weems impressed. He exhibited better command than he had displayed in the minors, striking out seven over his six shutout innings while allowing just four hits and two walks. Weems appeared to have a chance at making the A’s roster.
That conversion, and subsequent journey, is now complete. Weems was named to the A’s Opening Day roster, an intriguing part of a promising bullpen. He may not be a candidate for work in the latter innings just yet, but his promising fastball could be a weapon if he smooths out the rough edges.
That will be the key. Weems occasional command issues could be seen throughout his minor league career despite his lofty strikeout totals. In his 200 innings, he has struck out 208 batters, but has also issued 104 walks. As positive as a story as this currently is, he will need to continue developing a trustworthy second pitch, and improve his command, if he is to remain in the majors.
But for now, the journey is complete. Jordan Weems’ conversion to a pitcher has taken the final step – to a major league mound.