Loretto High lefthander Ryan Weathers was still sitting 94-95 mph in the ninth inning of the Tennessee high school state championship game. His team lost 1-0, but Weathers did his part by striking out 11, walking one and surrendering five hits in 12 innings.
Yet it was something that Weathers told his father weeks later that confirmed he was ready to begin a pro career.
His father is Loretto pitching coach and 19-year big league veteran David Weathers, who called for the squeeze play that ended up costing the team the game. The younger Weathers pleaded with his father to “let it go.”
David Weathers smiled as he recounted the exchange after watching his son, the No. 7 overall draft pick this year, address the San Diego media for the first time after signing for $5.23 million on July 1. The lesson at heart was one that David didn’t learn until his mid- to late 20s.
“At this level, the separator is above the shoulders,” David Weathers said. “. . . I’ve always preached to him that you’ve got to absolutely let your mind for the game and your confidence and your convictions be above your physical talent.”
Indeed, Ryan Weathers’ physical talent is considerable.
Weathers piled up 148 strikeouts in 76 innings and recorded a 0.09 ERA as a high school senior to claim the Gatorade national baseball player of the year. He throws a heavy fastball, a 78-82 mph downward-biting slider and a low-80s changeup.
The Padres are counting on Weathers’ bloodlines and intangibles augmenting a left arm they expect to line up behind MacKenzie Gore, Adrian Morejon and Logan Allen in a system brimming in southpaw talent.
General manager A.J. Preller was among the baseball executives in the stands when Weathers nearly willed his high school team to the state championship. The fourth-year GM liked everything he saw that day.
“It was one of the better high school games you could see, honestly,” Preller said. “He showed us everything we had seen in scouting him over the last few years. In a big spot, a big moment, he was composed, competitive.”
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