ERICH WEISS, SECOND BASEMAN
|Born: September 11, 1991
Drafted: 11th Round, 329th Overall, 2013
How Acquired: Draft
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Weiss put up very impressive numbers as a freshman and sophomore. As a junior, however, he got caught in a team-wide offensive slide, possibly as a result of trying too hard. The poor season dropped him from a potential early round pick to the draft’s second day. Weiss so far has been primarily a line drive hitter with gap rather than HR power. He has good hands and an average arm. The Pirates moved him to second in his first full year and he’s been a solid defender. Weiss is a good baserunner with decent speed. His father, Gary Weiss, spent two seasons in the majors. Weiss signed about a week before the deadline for well over the slot amount of $100,000.
Weiss got off to a blistering start after he signed, batting 377/415/541 in 18 July games before slumping to 161/290/161 in August, with no extra base hits in 56 ABs. Overall, he struck out in a third of his ABs. Weiss played third exclusively and struggled there, with 13 errors and an .875 fielding percentage.
The Pirates moved Weiss to second base, a position he played some in college, and he spent the season there with West Virginia. He got off to a fast start, posting an OPS of .854 in April and .827 in May. He slumped badly in June, though, hitting 209/340/256, before recovering somewhat in July and August. Weiss’ numbers have to be viewed in context, as he was a college draftee playing in low A. A lot of his value was tied up in walks, which he’ll find it harder to draw at higher levels given his limited power. Another bad sign is the very high K rate for a player without much power. Weiss struggled in the field, with 20 errors, which is a lot for a second baseman, even at that level.
Weiss spent most of the season starting at second for Bradenton. He did a good job of getting on base and significantly reduced his K rate. He didn’t hit for much power, but he was in a league where the slugging average was only .337. At the end of July, the Pirates promoted Weiss to Altoona to replace the traded JaCoby Jones. He held his own in AA without hitting especially well.
Weiss added some muscle in the off-season and, early on, it seemed to be making a big difference in his hitting. In April and May, he had an isolated slugging average of .176, by far the most power he’d shown. After that, though, his ISO subsided to .101. Of course, that was still better than it had been in any previous year and he had a good season overall. His walk and K rates were solid. He had a reverse platoon split, posting an OPS of .823 against LHPs and .741 against RHPs. He’s continued to improve defensively and shows good range and reliability at second.
The Pirates didn’t add Weiss to the 40-man roster and he wasn’t selected in the Rule 5 draft. He spent the season at Indianapolis. He played sparingly at first, as the Pirates had a logjam of infielders in AAA. Weiss struggled at the plate, putting up a .406 OPS in limited April action and .698 in May. From the beginning of June on, he was one of the team’s best hitters. After the AAA all-star break, he hit 285/394/446. He had a sizeable platoon split, with a .559 OPS against LHPs and .844 against RHPs. He played primarily second, but also got into 30 games at third and ten at first.
Other than the month of July, most of which he missed with an injury, Weiss spent the season in Indianapolis. With the Pirates giving Jose Osuna time at third, Weiss played mostly at first, seeing just a handful of games at other positions. Weiss’ offense dropped off, mainly due to weaker walk and K rates; he hit for about the same power as the previous year. He hit RHPs and LHPs about the same.
Weiss has another year left before free agency. He’ll be 27 throughout the 2019 season.
|2019: Minor league contract
|Signing Bonus: $305,000
MiLB Debut: 2013
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 8, 2013: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 11th round, 329th overall pick; signed on July 7.|