When spring training began, 24-year-old righthander Ryan Weiss’ stock appeared to be slipping. Drafted as a starter in the fourth round in 2018 from Wright State, Weiss was expected to shift to a bullpen role to help his stuff tick up.
As it turned out, Weiss had worked behind the scenes for the past year to improve his stuff, and once the D-backs got a firsthand look at it, their plans changed.
Through five starts, Weiss was impressive at Double-A Amarillo, logging a 3.28 ERA with eight walks and 25 strikeouts in 24.2 innings. He’s averaged 94 mph with his fastball and has topped out at 97. He averaged 91 mph in 2019.
The organization liked Weiss’ size, athleticism and makeup and saw the makings of a midrotation starter. But his stuff was pedestrian in 2019, to the point that the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Weiss was asking pointed questions about his future to coaches in the organization.
One such conversation occurred with Rockies closer Daniel Bard, who two years ago was a D-backs mental skills coach.
“At that time, I was averaging 91 mph,” Weiss said. “I said, ‘I don’t think my stuff will play in the big leagues. Do you agree or do you disagree?’ ”
Bard agreed Weiss could get more out of himself. More conversations led Weiss to have a biomechanical assessment at BYoung Physical Therapy in Apex, N.C., leading to a complete revamp of his mechanics.
Weiss is now creating more separation with his hips and shoulder and everything with his body is whippier.
D-backs farm director Josh Barfield said he told Weiss early in spring training about his likely bullpen role. He told him his stuff “doesn’t really play as a starter.”
Weiss pushed back, saying he hadn’t had a chance yet to show what he could do. The next day he sat 96-97 mph and Barfield admitted he was wrong.
Weiss, who also throws a slider, curveball and changeup, is trying not to get too far ahead of himself. He just wants to keep doing what he’s doing.
— Top prospect Corbin Carroll is out for the season after needing surgery to repair tears in the labrum and posterior capsule of his right (non-throwing) shoulder. Fellow outfielder Kristian Robinson remains sidelined following a visa issue stemming from an incident in which Robinson allegedly struck a law enforcement officer in 2020.
— Righthanders Slade Cecconi (left wrist), Conor Grammes (groin) and Levi Kelly (right shoulder) were delayed by relatively minor injuries but all had reported to their full-season affiliates by the last week of May.