Weigel transferred to the University of Houston for his junior season and parlayed a successful turn in the Cougars’ bullpen into a seventh-round selection by the Braves in the 2015 Draft. They thought he had the stuff to start and his first full season of pro ball seemed to confirm that theory. He continued on the fast track, reaching Triple-A in 2017, but was derailed by Tommy John surgery. He showed enough in his return at the end of 2018 to earn a spot on the 40-man roster and he looked a lot like his old self, albeit with a limited workload, in 2019.
Weigel’s velocity is now largely back to its pre-surgery level. He’ll typically sit around 94 mph with his fastball, but can reach back for 97-98 mph when he needs it. He throws both a slider and a curve, with the former at least an above-average pitch, flashing better. His changeup helps against left-handed hitters, giving him a fourth at least average offering.
At 6-foot-6, Weigel has struggled getting all of his moving parts in sync and maintaining a consistent delivery. That does cause command issues at times, though he had improved in that department before the injury. That, combined with how dominant he was pitching in relief at the end of 2019, could land him in a setup role eventually, though starting hasn’t been ruled out.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
Weigel bounced around to three different colleges as an amateur and after a solid junior season pitching in relief at the University of Houston, the Braves made him their seventh-round pick in 2015. Given a chance to start, the big right-hander had reached Triple-A and was just about knocking on the big league door when he needed Tommy John surgery. He did return at the very end of the summer in 2018 and participated in instructional league play, then shook off the rust to pitch his way back to Triple-A in 2019 and got called up to Atlanta for the first time in July, though he didn't appear in a game during his first stint in the big leagues.
Weigel pitches at 93-94 mph as a starter but showed the ability to get 97-98 mph on occasion, and could pitch there consistently in shorter stints should the Braves ever put him back in the bullpen. He does have two distinct breaking balls, and he'll go back and forth depending on which one he has a better feel for. It might behoove him to focus on one, with the slider the leading candidate, if he returns to relieving. His changeup does give him an option against left-handed hitters.
Now healthy, Weigel is once again ready to impact the big league staff. He could serve as a back end starter, but it might be exciting to see how his already-good stuff plays up as a short reliever.
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
The Braves looked like they found a steal in the seventh round of the 2015 Draft in nabbing Weigel, who pitched at three colleges before signing with the Braves. He jumped on a fast track by going from A ball to Double-A in his first full season and had advanced to Triple-A in 2017 when he blew out his elbow in June and needed Tommy John surgery.
When healthy, Weigel has four pitches that he can go to in order to get hitters out. He'll pitch at 93-94 mph with his fastball typically, but he can reach back for 97-98 mph when he needs it. On any given night, one breaking ball is better than the other, and he's more than willing to toggle back and forth based on which one he has a better feel for. He'll often throw a true curve early in counts to get ahead, and the slider becomes more of a strikeout pitch. He'll mix a solid average changeup in as well and he's generally around the strike zone with all of them.
The hope is that Weigel will be back before the season is over, though it really will be 2019 before he's at full strength. He was knocking on the door before the injury; there's no reason to think he won't be back there once he's 100 percent.
It's hard to know when things will click for a pitching prospect. Weigel bounced around to three different colleges and was a reliever at Houston when the Braves took him in the seventh round of the 2015 Draft. He had a lackluster debut that summer, but then a light went off in 2016. Weigel dominated in the South Atlantic League, and then held his own in three starts in Double-A, finishing the year in the top three in the organization in a host of pitching categories. He made it up to Triple-A in 2017 before requiring Tommy John surgery in June.
The Braves felt Weigel hadn't been allowed to just go out and pitch and learn from failure during his college career. So they let him do just that and his four-pitch mix was more than up to the task. Sure, the velocity would play up out of the pen, but he would pitch at 93-94 mph and reach back for 96-97 whenever he needed it as a starter. He currently has two distinct breaking balls and both flash at least above-average at times. One night, the slider will be a plus pitch and the curve is just average; the next start it will be flipped, and Weigel goes with the pitch he has a better feel for. His changeup is a solid average pitch, with room for improvement. His command took a large step forward as well.
Before the injury, Weigel had been strong and durable and looked every bit a starting pitcher. Once healthy, he'll get back to showing he can continue to do that at the upper levels.
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 45 | Curveball: 45 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 40 | Overall: 45
A 6-foot-6 right-hander with tremendous arm strength, Weigel pitched for three colleges as an amateur. He was used largely in relief at Pacific as a freshman before transferring to Oxnard, where he started as a sophomore, which led to the Brewers drafting him in the 22nd round of the 2015 Draft. Weigel moved on to Houston as a junior and returned to the 'pen before landing in the Braves system as a seventh-round selection.
The Braves are developing Weigel as a starter, at least for the time being, and he does have a four-pitch mix with offerings that flash average or above, but rarely all at the same time. His fastball will sit around 94 mph with some sink, and he can reach back for more. He throws a slider and curve, with both flashing above average at times. His changeup is a project, but he does show some feel for it. He is working to improve his command, which is below average, and cut down his walk rate.
He does miss bats with legitimate stuff, so the Braves are willing to be patient. Even if it doesn't work as a starter, the time he has put into developing his craft could make him a more effective reliever in the future.