Little League batters know that if Gavin Weir is on the mound, it’s going to be a tough day.
The southpaw from Sioux Falls Little League, representing South Dakota, has been on a tear throughout his team’s run through districts, states, regionals and the Little League World Series. In what is his final start on the mound, he pitched a no-hitter against California, striking out 14 over six innings in a 1-0 win on Wednesday to send his team to the Tom Seaver bracket Championship. Weir’s team is a game away from playing in the Little League World Series finals.
The Sioux Falls Little League team will play in their bracket championship matchup on Saturday.
What do you need to know about the star of the 2021 Little League World Series? Sporting News has you covered.
How old is Gavin Weir?
Weir is 12 years old. Players must be either 11 or 12 years old in order to compete in the Little League World Series, or they must move either up or down to another level, depending on their age. Little League has not allowed 13-year-olds to compete since 2019.
He has video game-like stats
Throwing a no-hitter is impressive in its own right. What’s more impressive? How about seven no-hitters.?
That’s right: He has thrown seven of them in his eight starts to help guide Sioux Falls to this point. In the other start — his first in the Little League World Series, against Louisiana — he came an out away from a no-hitter and struck out 15 before his pitch count limit forced him to exit the start early. Cason Mediger finished off the combined no-hitter.
Over the course of his eight starts on the mound, Weir has pitched 43.2 shutout innings with just one hit allowed and struck out 114 batters. That has come over the course of 132 batters for an 86.4 percent strikeout rate. For context, the highest strikeout rate among qualified starting pitchers in MLB this season is tied between Max Scherzer and Corbin Burnes, at 34.4 percent.
For those hoping to catch a glimpse of him on the mound before the end of the tournament, that’s not going to happen. Should South Dakota reach the Little League World Series final, Weir would be ineligible to pitch on Sunday as he requires four days of rest after throwing 83 pitches on Wednesday, per Little League’s policy.
But don’t worry. He has still been known to put on his best Shohei Ohtani impression at the plate. Check out the go-ahead three-run shot he hit against Oregon on Monday:
Chris Sale comparison
It’s unfair to compare a 12-year-old pitcher to an annual Cy Young pitcher in the majors.
But when the motion is this similar, it’s unavoidable.
Lefties? Check. Unorthodox delivery? Check. Unhittable stuff? Check.
Weir isn’t quite hitting the upper-90s like the 32-year-old Red Sox ace, but his fastball has plenty of top-notch velocity for Little League arms.. He can hurl it up there in the 70s, and pair it with a nasty breaking pitch, a la Sale’s slider — though Weir’s specialty is a curveball. And it’s a good one.
Rob Friedman, a pitching analyst who goes by the handle PitchingNinja, has been sharing Weir’s highlights throughout the Little League World Series, the same way he shares the work of big league arms. And a few pro players, such as Blue Jays minor league right-hander Joey Murray, have taken notice.
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