San Diego Padres: FoB Speaks with Triple-A El Paso Reliever, TJ Weir

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The San Diego Padres have a young pitcher coming through the pipeline whose stats are just as impressive as any of the big-time blue-chip prospects that are making their way to San Diego.

I was doing a little extra homework on the San Diego Padres’ farm system last week, and I came across T.J. Weir‘s player page.

A native of Kokomo, IN, Weir attended Ball State University in Muncie, IN for four years, pitching and playing shortstop and third base, before being drafted in the 17th round of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft.

Over five MiLB seasons, the 26-year-old right-hander has thrown 267.2 innings, striking out 286 hitters and walking only 84. He’s only allowed 16 home runs over that time. Wow.

His strikeout-to-walk ratio works out to 3.4, and his WHIP is a more-than-respectable 1.173. Weir’s earned-run average over his minor-league career is 3.33.

In 2017, over 77.1 innings pitched, Weir had a 2.09 ERA with 79 strikeouts and just 20 walks.

He allowed just four homers all of last season. For someone who clearly throws a ton of strikes, he doesn’t seem to leave many pitches over the heart of the plate.

That stat right there is the exact reason why I wanted to speak to T.J. Weir. Here’s our conversation:

FoB: Poring over your stats, particularly the strikeout-to-walk ratio, and it’s very clear you’re a strike-thrower.

T.J. Weir: Yeah, I  pride myself on that. That’s always been a key to my success is when I’m throwing strikes with all of my pitches. That’s pretty standard for any pitcher but it’s something that I really try to focus on, getting ahead of pitchers. When I can do that and throw strikes with all my pitches, good things happen.

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FoB: You use two fastballs, correct? A four-seam and a two-seam?

Weir: Yeah. I throw mainly a sinker. I throw a four-seam every once in a while, but I usually try to live on the sinker for my fastball usage.

FoB: And your breaking pitch is a slider?

Weir: I throw a curveball and a slider.

FoB: What were your biggest takeaways from major-league camp this year? 

Weir: Major-league camp was awesome. It was really cool to get a chance to be around that side of it. It’s a little different from the minor-league side of it.

But just being able to be around some of the veteran guys like Craig Stammen and Brad Hand and Clayton Richard, kinda see how they go about their business and how they prepare themselves for the season was really cool. I learned a lot from those guys.

FoB: Did the Padres have the reliever role in mind for you when they drafted you? It looks like you’ve made some sporadic starts over your time in MiLB.

Weir: I’ve done a little bit of both, bouncing around a bit through my career. I made I think ten starts in 2016, but primarily being used as a reliever. Then last year I made a couple of starts but that was the first year that I was exclusively in the bullpen. It worked pretty well. I found a good niche there.

I’ve kinda bounced around with roles in the bullpen too. I’ve been the guy that goes long sometimes. Sometimes I come in for one inning so just trying to be versatile and really whatever they need of me I’m ready to do.

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FoB: Who was your favorite team growing up? In Indiana, you kinda have to pick a team right? 

Weir: I was a Yankees fan because I was a big Derek Jeter fan, but there are die-hard Cubs fans all over Indiana so I rooted for the Cubs too.