- Full name Kyle Edward Weiland
- Born 09/12/1986 in Albuquerque, NM
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 195 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Notre Dame
- Debut 07/10/2011
Drafted in the 3rd round (108th overall) by the Boston Red Sox in 2008 (signed for $322,000).
View Draft ReportWeiland has a good chance to go in the first three rounds as a reliever, but he might be starting for Notre Dame if he hadn't fallen and broken his collarbone the December before his sophomore season. After he saved 16 games as a freshman, the Fighting Irish ticketed him for their rotation in 2007. However he had a hard time making the transition to starting while recovering from the injury. Weiland enjoyed immediate success after returning to the bullpen, where he could focus on his 91-94 mph fastball and 80-82 mph slider. He owns school records for single-season and career (25) saves. The slider gives him a second plus pitch at times, though he can fall in love with it too much. Six-foot-3 and 180 pounds, he throws strikes but sometimes battles the location of his pitches in the zone. Weiland's stuff was down slightly a month before the draft, and he hit three batters in one inning against Pittsburgh.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Red Sox thought they had plenty of pitching depth to carry them through the 2011 season, but when injuries ravaged their staff, they had to turn to Weiland to make three critical starts in September. He lost two and received no decision in the other, allowing 12 runs in 11⅔ innings. Club officials don't fault Weiland, saying he was put in a difficult situation and undermined by shoddy defense behind him. They still see him as a potential rotation contributor in the future. Weiland has a hard sinker that sits in the low 90s and touches 96. He has improved his curveball to the point where it gets swings and misses, and he has developed a cutter that makes him more effective against lefthanders than righthanders. He doesn't tip off his changeup like he used to, though it's still a fringy pitch. Weiland relishes pitching inside and does an excellent job of controlling the running game. When he keeps his pitches down, he's tough to beat, but he got caught up in the strike zone too often in the majors. Weiland set single-season (16) and career (25) save records at Notre Dame, and his stuff would play up if he moved to the bullpen. But Boston has no immediate plans to do so, and he'll open 2012 on call in Triple-A.
Like Alex Wilson, Weiland has worked as a starter in pro ball but could help cure Boston's bullpen woes in the near future. He has a better chance to start than Wilson does because he has more pitches and more command. Weiland's best pitch is a low-90s fastball that peaks at 95 mph but is most notable for its hard sink. He surrendered just 10 homers in his first 263 pro innings before tiring and pitching up in the zone more in the last two months of 2010, when he gave up eight more longballs. His breaking ball has improved since he turned pro, going from a slurve to a true curve that generates swings and misses against righthanders. He also has upgraded his feel for his changeup, though he needs to use it more often and do a better job of maintaining his arm speed when he throws it. Weiland relishes pitching inside, as evidenced by him leading the Carolina League and Eastern League in hit batters (16 both times) the last two seasons. He does a good job of controlling the running game, giving up just six steals in 17 attempts in 2010. He excelled as a closer at Notre Dame, setting school records for single-season (16) and career (25) saves. As with Wilson, the Red Sox haven't decided to make Weiland a reliever yet, though it could happen in 2011. He'll open the season in Triple-A.
Weiland set single-season (16) and career (25) saves records at Notre Dame, but the Red Sox looked at his three-pitch mix and saw him as a starter when they drafted him in the third round in 2008. They sent him to high Class A for his first full pro season, and he recovered from a 1-5, 6.91 start to go 6-4, 1.81 over the final three months. Weiland's best pitch is a 91-94 mph turbo sinker, which has helped him post a 1.6 groundout/ airout ratio as a pro. His hard three-quarters breaking ball can be a solid pitch, though it flattens out when he doesn't stay on top of it. He shows good feel for his changeup now that he's using it more as a starter. Weiland battled his control at times--he led the Carolina League with 16 hit batters and ranked third with 57 walks in 2009--so Boston has tried to help him tighten up his arm action and repeat his delivery better. He also has to work on controlling the running game after giving up 32 steals in 39 tries last year. Weiland ultimately may return to the bullpen, but he'll spend this season as a starter in Double-A.
Weiland spent most of his Notre Dame career as a reliever and struggled down the stretch before the 2008 draft, yet he thrived immediately and as a starter in pro ball after signing for $322,000 as a third-rounder. Had he not fallen one inning shy of qualifying, he would have led the New York-Penn League in ERA (1.50), K-BB ratio (68-10) and opponent batting average (.166). Weiland's long legs and loose arm have elicited physical comparisons to Jered Weaver, but Weiland has better pure stuff and throws from a more traditional arm slot. His fastball sits at 91-92 mph and tops out at 95, with late life down and in to righthanders. His low-80s breaking ball, which is closer to a curveball than a slider, has the potential to be a plus pitch. He also has feel for a changeup, giving him the chance to have three solid-or-better pitches. In college, Weiland sometimes fell in love with his breaking ball and struggled to locate his pitches effectively in the zone, but those weren't issues in his pro debut. His arm action is long in the back, which led to some of those command woes and may eventually lead him back to the bullpen. However, the Red Sox plan on developing the Fighting Irish's single-season (16) and career (25) saves leader as a starter for now. Weiland could be the first player from Boston's 2008 draft to reach the majors, and he's the best equipped to make the jump to high Class A if needed in 2009.
Minor League Top Prospects
As with Price, the Red Sox plan to use Weiland as a starter for now after he pitched primarily in relief at college. He made five appearances out of the bullpen before moving into Lowell's rotation, where he went 3-2, 1.23 with a 52-6 K-BB ratio in 44 innings. Weiland responded very well to the shift, pounding the strike zone with a boring 91-93 mph fastball and working very efficiently. His 80-82 mph breaking ball is slurvy but sharp and gives him a second potential plus offering, and he has feel for a changeup. His long legs and loose arm evoke Jered Weaver, and his delivery has minimal effort.