For the better part of the 2012 season, almost every Milwaukee Brewer fan was jumping ship on Rickie Weeks. He wasn’t hitting, he was striking out more and overall was just not putting up productive numbers. However, in the latter half of the season, really starting in mid-July, Weeks began to turn it around. We’ve seen more of this lately as in September so far, Weeks is batting .302 with six home runs, 11 RBIs and has four stolen bases. So while we could play those “what if” games about Weeks had he done better in the first half of the season, what’s done is done. One player does not effectively disrupt a team’s flow, but the fact that Weeks had been struggling so mightily may have had something to do with it. With the money Weeks is paid, he had better hit like he is now for an entire season instead of just for two months.
So really, what was it about Weeks that was so awful?
Well, here’s a mind boggling stat. Weeks has already struck out 153 times in 2012, whereas in 2011, he only struck out 107 times. Despite his strikeout rate being higher that last season, his ground ball to fly ball ratio in 2012 (0.87) is actually lower than 2011′s 0.96. So what does that tell you? Obviously Rickie is getting into a lot of battles as his plate discipline has improved, seeing an average of 4.08 pitches when he bats, but he ends up losing those battles due to the K.
All right, enough of the negatives. There are actually a few positives about Weeks this season. While his .230 batting average is extremely lackluster for an everyday player, the fact that he was batting well below .200 heading into mid-July says something. His patience at the plate has also paid dividends as he’s walked 67 times this season, 17 more times than in 2011. His hit total of 119 thus far is only three under last year’s total and we still have two and a half weeks of baseball left.
Weeks has also been more of a threat on the bases as he’s stolen 13 bases in 16 attempts. Lately the fact that he’s been able to get on, sometimes steal second and put himself into scoring position only adds to the fact that he’s come around to help the Brewers’ offense instead of hurt it. Weeks has scored 76 runs this year, which will more than likely surpass last year’s total of 77.
Since August though, Brewer fans have really been able to see the Weeks from years past. While I certainly don’t think he’s worth the $11 million he’s being paid this season, he’s certainly trying to earn it as of late. The month of September so far has been incredible for Weeks who already has six multi-hit games, one of those being a three-hit game. The fact that Rickie, alongside the rest of the team, has been able find the on-switch now is incredible.
There were a lot of Brewers’ fans, us at Reviewing the Brew included, who absolutely gave up on Weeks awhile ago. For the money he’s paid, we all argued he should be putting up Robinson Cano or Ian Kinsler stats, but clearly Weeks falls short every year. While he’ll probably never be a career .270 hitter, he still provides a solid pop in the line-up, providing he gets on a hot streak like he is now.
Defensively for Weeks, I’ll just say that it’s been bad. 15 errors in 544 total chances in 2012, which gives him a fielding percentage of .972. So clearly, defense hasn’t been (knowing how he’s struggled before) and probably never will be Weeks’ strong suit.
I’ll say this much regarding Rickie though, he’s a player that you’ll still want on your team at the end of the day. Yes, the Brewers could try out a number of guys at second base like Jeff Bianchi, Eric Farris, Taylor Green or maybe even Scooter Gennett someday, but for now the job belongs to Weeks. I wouldn’t give up hope on Rickie, but at the same time, there’s the stone cold reality of how he performs. Here’s to hoping that Weeks can eventually prove his worth in our eyes.