Offseason Prospect Overview: Andy Weber

andyweber1Season Review

andyweber

A versatile defender and emerging offensive threat, Andy Weber did not get much publicity heading into the 2018 draft, but after a First-Team All-ACC season at second base for Virginia, the Cubs popped him in the 5th round on an over slot deal. He reached base in 50 of 54 games for the Cavaliers as he tied for first in the conference in doubles and finished second in batting average.

Pegged as an offense-first second baseman in pre-draft reports but in the limited access I had to his collegiate video I immediately noted his combination of athleticism, arm and soft hands. My first thought upon seeing him was "I would love to see if this guy can play shortstop." Sure enough, the Cubs ended up playing him more games at short than second, and even gave him a look at third. 

Positives

Weber's left-handed swing is currently geared towards hitting line drives to all fields.  His line drive percentage was the highest on the Emeralds team among hitters with 90+ plate appearances. There is still some room for improvement, but his plate discipline looks sound. While his power production is mostly of the extra base variety, he flashes home run pull power that I can foresee him unlocking a bit more frequently as a pro if he is willing to add a bit more loft and settle less for going the opposite way. It is unlikely to ever be a big part of his game as he probably tops out in the 10-15 HR range.

He may not wow you on the left side of the infield, but his range at shortstop is acceptable and his arm is strong and accurate enough at third base. He should be able to handle both spots even if second base is where he profiles best as a potential plus defender. Wherever he plays he should turn in reliable performances.

Negatives

There was a little more swing-and-miss than I expected during his time with Eugene, but it needs to be noted that Weber was a late sign who sat out for a while after the draft and may have been a bit rusty. I won't consider it a concern unless the issue crops up again this season. The same goes for some of the errors he made.

I would like to see a little more willingness to pull the ball and also to put it into the air. He did hit plenty of line drives, but he also wasted some well struck balls by driving them directly into the dirt in front of home plate, not to mention the number of easy outs on weak ground balls to the left side of the infield.

Summation

There is potential for an average or better left-handed bat, with a good idea of the strike zone, and the ability to play anywhere across the diamond and probably either corner outfield spot if required. That is a valuable bench profile on a first division team, or potentially a starter in other situations. Weber was overlooked in this draft class by many, but not by me, and the Cubs early usage of him suggests they like his upside as well.

2019 Outlook

Where Weber opens may depend on how the Cubs decide to send out Aramis Ademan and Nico Hoerner. If those two are ticketed for Myrtle Beach in April, it would force Weber to South Bend. If the Cubs choose to send one (or both) to Tennessee it would create the opportunity for Weber to earn a chance to begin at High-A in spring training. Whether he starts in Myrtle Beach or not I believe it is only a matter of time before he gets there. I expect he will close out the year at that level as he splits his time between all three infield positions.

Comments

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  • Another great prospect

  • Another great prospect

  • Another great prospect

  • Another one of the under the radar type guys that could improve his stock w/a decent season. I like hearing he goes opposite field, hits line drives & can play multiple positions.

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    A middle infielder with the ability to play solid, if unspectacular, defense with a LH swing and adequate plate discipline. Where do I sign?

  • Could be a kind of sleeper in the Cubs system - he'll be interesting to watch.

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    The thing I like about guys like this is they spare us having to sign a utility infielder or LH infield bat for 4/$12M or something like that.

    People have said the Cubs farm system is full of BOR starters. While, obviously, I would like it filled with TOR starters, or even MOR starters, the fact is that a #5 starter, if signed in FA, is often $8-12M or something like that. Or even a solid bullpen arm is getting in the $2-5M range. While "elite" is nice, just producing consistend MLB talent can still have positive economic impact.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Absolutely. And, since value is in the eye of the beholder, a LH utility infielder or a #5 starter might just end up being what another GM needs to complete a team, so even if the prospect doesn't make the Cubs' roster they may bring someone in trade who does.

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    Kind of like what you say. Sometimes in a deal an opposing GM just wants an "MLB level talent" included in return. The player has SOME value. No, it is likely not as valuable as a TOR starter or elite hitter, but it is still value, and not necessarily insignficant value.

  • Theo is good at finding under the radar hitters. Hopefully a couple of his starting pitching prospects emerge this year. We will need them by 21' or 22'.

  • I believe by 2021 or 22 we will only have Darvish under contract.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I could see the Cubs offering an extension or another contract to Lester but not at "ace" rates. I wouldn't be surprised if the rotation looks very different in just a couple of seasons.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    The Cubs have Lester under contract for 2 more years and an option for a third. I do not see him getting an extension.

  • In reply to John57:

    They will be far more likely to prioritize Hendricks. His stuff should age well.

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    In reply to John57:

    I could see him signing a 2 year, $10M contract to finish out his career type contract.

  • Weber looks likely to become a major leager but I don't know if he is a starter with the Cubs. With Adelman, Hoerner, Giambrone, Short, and Bote the middle infield seems to be covered in the near future. Oh and I don't see Javy going anywhere either. I know K Law does not like the Cubs farm and thinks they have no elite talent, but I think he is wrong.

  • Jason McCleod is on AM 1000 talking pitching now.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Kap is in AZ. He’s also going to speak to Jed later.

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