Oh yeah!!! And this "amazing" defensive play happened too!! Photo: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Rickie Weeks is NOT Clutch

If you were (un)fortunate enough to watch the past few games, you have no doubt noticed that our 2nd baseman has some anxiety at the plate.  Strangely, this issue does not show itself unless there are other Brewers on base.  If the Brewers are down a run in the bottom of the 9th, and Weeks is leading off, there is no reason to suspect that he will not deliver.  However, if there are two outs and the bases loaded, I will take anyone else on this roster over Weeks.  That guy is the anti-Batman.  Imagine if at the end of The Dark Knight Rises Gotham gets blown up because Batman isn’t quite good enough to defeat Bane.  Pretty crappy movie right?

Now, so far I am just being a blow hard, allowing my anger and irritation to get the best of me.  So, I did what any sensible person would do….took to social media.

It became very clear yesterday, via Twitter, that I am in the minority when it comes to content for Rickie Weeks.  A few brave souls spoke up and agreed with my #scootertime campaign, but for the most part I received people who think that just because Weeks bats .300 he should stay in the middle of the lineup.  I just don’t see what you good people see.  

Look, it is one thing to make outrageous claims without having any evidence to back them up.  I have proof pudding though (get it…the proof is in the pudding, that is still something people say, right?). 

Over the course of his career, Rickie Weeks seems to have stayed the same.  A once promising young talent has now budded into a B defensive player and B+ offensive talent…as long as no one is on base.  In my mind, when you take a guy with the 2nd overall pick in a draft, you should get more from him in big game situations.  Clearly based on my grades, I think Weeks is a good player.  But Weeks is paid like a big time star and big time stars should be expected to deliver in big moments.  Weeks has never shown me that he can give us those clutch hits when we need them most.  The first week of the season should be proof enough…but just in case…. 

Below you will find Weeks’ batting averages with runners in scoring position (RISP) since he first started playing everyday in 2005. 

2005 - .234 BA                    2009 – .313 BA  (a miracle)

2006 – .260 BA                    2010 – .304 BA (double miracle!)

2007 - .178 BA                    2011 – .213 BA  (crashing back down to earth)

2008 – .240 BA                    2012 – .201 BA

So far this season, he has had 9 AB’s with RISP, struck out 4 of those times, hit into a double-play yesterday, and has a batting average of….nothing (0.000). 

Still not convinced that Rickie Weeks is arguably the least clutch hitter on the Brewers roster:

Career Postseason: 14 Games, 45 AB’s, 6 hits, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, .133 BA, and a .204 OBP

STILL not convinced…fine, this hurts me more than it hurts you:

Yuniesky Betancourt – 2011 RISP Batting Avg. – .237  (24 points higher than Weeks)

Mark Kotsay – 2011 RISP Batting Avg. – .323 (110 points higher!!!!

By that math, your odds were better putting in Kotsay or Yuni B to win a game rather than Weeks?!?!!?  Is this some cruel joke that the baseball gods are playing on me?  No.  Has the world started spinning backwards, creating an alternate universe where up is down and sidewalks are centerwalks?!?!?! No.  It is simply the numbers of the game. 

Say whatever you want to me about how Weeks still hasn’t hit his full potential, but know that he will be 31 in September.  Also know that when the chips are down, he is going to disappoint us. 

Scooter Gennett is batting .474 in Nashville right now…that is a 1.000 in OPS.  So….there’s that to consider.

Rip me apart if you feel that is the right thing to do.  I may be a blow hard, but the numbers have no reason to blow hot air up your Brew-holes. 

I owe a special thanks to Rickie for his horrific performance the last two days, without it I wouldn’t have done the research and thrown up all over our new living room couch.     


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Tags: Milwaukee Brewers Rickie Weeks

  • BadgerNoonan

    You used batting average. Automatic fail.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lou.olsen.9 Lou Olsen

      Thank you for reading, but I am confused as to why that is an automatic fail? Shouldn’t that be the statistic to truly judge how well an offensive player performs? Maybe I am just old-fashioned that way….

      • BadgerNoonan

        BA is just not a useful stat. Almost ever, and certainly not for your purposes here. The problems with your post are legion, but in short: Rickie’s value is almost all in OBP and SLG in the first place. Low BAs are not unusual for him, especially in a small sample, and it doesn’t matter anyway. Your definition of a clutch situation is only men on base, and you didn’t parse it well enough anyway. Check out his year-by-year in fangraphs high-leverage situations. in 09 he was outstanding. In 10 he was garbage. in 2011 he was outstanding. In 2012 he was pretty good even though he struggled overall. There’s really no such thing as a clutch hitter. Finally, 2 things: You seem to base much of this over the frustration of 1 game which is always a bad idea, and Scooter will almost definitely never even be half the player Rickie Weeks is.

        • Justin Schultz

          BA is not a useful stat? I don’t understand that at all.

          • BadgerNoonan

            It’s possibly one of the worst offensive stats in that it conveys almost no useful information about offensive performance. It’s fundamentally flawed in the first place as it excludes walks from the equation and treat errors negatively. It doesn’t capture the type of hit. It makes no distinction between Adam Dunn and Cesar Izturis. Basically, when discussing offense, the most important piece of info is, “did the player make an out.” The second most important piece of information is “how many bases did the player cover this PA”. Batting average captures none of this information. It’s not worth mentioning.

        • http://www.facebook.com/lou.olsen.9 Lou Olsen

          Mr. Noonan,
          First off, thank you again for reading and I appreciate your input. I am not a stats guy, I am an opinion/nonsense writer. This was my first real adventure into doing statistical research, and you have made it pretty clear that this was a mistake.

          After looking through FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference for over two hours, I came to the realization that the only statistic that should matter with RISP is batting average. Batting average takes into account sacrifices and does not penalize you for them. Do you genuinely think that batting average is not a useful stat? If so, then why is it always listed first?

          I also think you and I must have a very different opinion of what “clutch” means. What do you define it as, if not, every opportunity to drive in runs? What is more clutch than that? Are you talking about defense? And to say that there is no such thing as a clutch hitter is….silly.

          I would also like to point out that you have probably never read anything of mine before. Rickie Weeks and I have been at odds for years now, so I am a little bothered by the fact you are assuming this was based off of one game. That also insults my intelligence as a fan. Yes, it was the one game in particular that caused me to WANT to research, but it was not the reason I wrote this article.

          Thank you for turning me off to any further statistical articles, I kind of knew it was not up to statistician standards, but I wanted to try. Huh,

          • BadgerNoonan

            Are you like 10 years old?

          • http://www.facebook.com/lou.olsen.9 Lou Olsen

            Nope. Thought we were having a grown up conversation. But I am pretty sure my Dad could beat up your Dad…now that you mention it.

          • Justin Schultz

            Seriously guy?

          • BadgerNoonan

            “Thank you for turning me off to any statistical articles…”

            That is the attitude of a ten year old. That’s why I asked.

            You and Rickie Weeks may have been at odds for years, but I doubt you have good reasons. Most people don’t. There are knocks on Rickie, health and defense being the two biggest, but in most years he’s a passable defender and he’s almost always a superb offensive second baseman.

            I looked at his performance and came to the conclusion that he’s a good player. You’ve got some silly grudge and you’re looking for data to fit. That approach will alway lead to lousy data like it did here.

          • http://www.facebook.com/lou.olsen.9 Lou Olsen

            Look man, when you first commented on this article I was kind of excited. You have done some nice work in the past and I had hoped for you to provide me with some helpful tips. Instead you insulted me and posted my article on Twitter with the phrase “This is not an endorsement obviously.” Who does that? I may be a 10 year old and not as gifted as you, but at least I have the common descency to not belittle people’s work to their peers. You could have been the bigger man and offered some advice to a young writer, but you chose to take the high road and write a condescending little rant about how inadequate my article was. Then you used your final sentence to get one last jab in, “That approach will alway lead to lousy data like it did here.” So now that you have broken me down and proved that you are better than me, can you please go back to your finger paintings and leave me alone?

          • BadgerNoonan

            You know what, you’re right. I was way too much of a dick here. I apologize. I should have been more constructive in my criticism.

            You hit on some of my pet issues but there was no way (well, almost no way) for you to know that, and in any case, you put in research, which is always commendable.

            So I’m sorry for the criticism, especially the personal criticism. That was completely unwarranted.

          • http://www.facebook.com/lou.olsen.9 Lou Olsen

            Thank you, that means a lot to me:)

      • http://twitter.com/TrueBrewersFan Karsen Mitsche

        If you are going to judge how good of a HITTER he is with RISP then yes BA. But OBP is always what you should look at and getting on base at a .350 clip with RISP is very good. I will take that.

  • Justin Schultz

    For most, if not all, of his chances with RISP this year has been when Weeks is batting clean-up. He’s not a clean-up hitter and is obviously not comfortable there. Gennett doesn’t have the power Rickie does and I don’t see him hitting for a better average either.
    Despite that I disagree with you, good article Lou. I just hope Rickie proves you wrong this year.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lou.olsen.9 Lou Olsen

      You are right Justin, he should not be batting clean-up, so this season is a much harder gauge (plus we are only a week in). I know that you like Weeks and this was hard for you to read, but thanks for the support. At least you aren’t in love with Brooks Conrad, like Curt.

      • Justin Schultz

        I was more of a Gabe Kapler lover.

        • http://www.facebook.com/lou.olsen.9 Lou Olsen


      • Curt Hogg

        I’ll never live that down, huh?

  • Brewers Fan

    So what you’re saying is he was performed significantly better than his season batting average twice (2009, 2010); right around his season batting average three times (2005, 2006, 2008); and significantly under his batting average three times (2007, 2011, 2012)? It’s almost as if you’re dealing with small samples that vary depending on the season, amirite?

    • http://www.facebook.com/lou.olsen.9 Lou Olsen

      Brewers fan, that is a keen observation. Believe me when I tell you, that I am not nearly clever enough to come up with that. I used full season sample size, or at least as full as it could be…injuries and all. If I was that clever, I would have pointed it out to everyone. Thanks for making me feel smart for a few seconds:)

  • http://twitter.com/TrueBrewersFan Karsen Mitsche

    On base percentage would be a better measure and a career .350 OBP is what I look at. Walk is as good as a hit. I also dont think we should judge him on clutch hitting. This is his make or break season obviously. So lets see if he can stay healthy and produce in the two hole before Braun once this team is healthy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lou.olsen.9 Lou Olsen

      Karsen, thank you for reading. I agree that from an overall standpoint, OBP is a better stat. It is the one that I focus one when I look at a players value. In this article I tried to find a statistic that could genuinely show how effective a player was when runners were on 2nd and 3rd base. The only one that made sense was batting average. It does not penalize you for sacrifices. I admit that it does not take walks into account, but clutch hitters do not walk with runners in scoring position…at least not in my mind.

  • http://brewtalk.weebly.com/ Novak

    Everyone else has poked at the average part of your article, but I’d like to point out that your complaint about his post-season performance is also pretty flawed.

    2008 is hardly worth mentioning since he only had 4 PA’s.

    As for 2011, Rickie was still dealing with his horrendous ankle injury – the same injury that, by all accounts, contributed significantly to his horrendous performance through the first half of 2012. If he’s still dealing with the injury in 2012, I think it’s safe to say he was dealing with it in the 2011 postseason.

    Weeks will always have his flaws with his marginal defense and extensive injury history, but the main point of conflict between people who like and dislike Rickie has always been his high OBP/high walk rates versus his low average/high strikeout rates.

    The biggest problems usually arise when people erroneously peg him as a run producer. He is largely paid to see a ton of pitches, get on base, and score runs (of which he has been successful at doing in his career), and the runs he bats in are a bit of a bonus.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lou.olsen.9 Lou Olsen

      Great observations Ike. You are correct on pretty much all accounts. I agree with you that my complaint about Weeks in the postseason is flawed, although I also believe that those numbers are interesting to be aware of. I think the biggest issues with this article rests on my shoulders. While I had the very best of intentions, I executed it poorly. Nowhere in the article did I explain what the word “clutch” means to me, which made the article foggy and unclear. Please do not let this deter you from coming back and visiting the site.

  • trouty42

    The season is a week old. Talk about small sample size… And before you thank me for reading, no I stopped right around where you were complaining about his season stats THIS SEASON. A whole 8 games so far. The Weeks hate is strong with this one.

    Where was this “article” after the first 5 games? Yeah, you couldn’t write it then because it’s hard to rip on a guy hitting .421 isn’t it? Then he had a bad few days, which happens in baseball. Congrats on waiting the extra 3 days for his stats to fit in a little better with your hate bias.

    Weeks has scored 6 runs, team co-leader with Aoki. Exactly what you want out of your lead-off and #2 hitters. I eagerly await your next article on how depressingly awful Jonathan Lucroy (.185 avg) has performed this season and how he should be sent down to the minors for more seasoning since he’s clearly not ready for a big league job.

    • Justin Schultz

      He’s talking about how Weeks isn’t CLUTCH. Weeks can be batting .500 and still fail when it comes to RISP. And he used more than just this season to back up his opinion.