Fellow RtB contributor Justin Schultz and I seem to agree on most things Brew Crew. We both agree that Ron Roenicke is awful at managing his pitchers. We also believe that Jean Segura is going to follow in the footsteps of a long line of terrific Brewers shortstops.
However, there is one particular player who we seem to have some differing views…
It is no secret that I am not a Rickie Weeks fan. While I believe that he does have some talent, I feel like injuries and inconsistency have made him more of a liability than an attribute. Which is why I have been attempting to #freescooter for the past few weeks. (P.S. Gennett is batting over .500 so far in his first full season at Triple-A)
Many of you do not share this opinion, including my friend Justin. Therefore, we must settle this in the most dignified way possible….an opinion piece disguised as some sort of court room drama.
Our rants will follow the guidelines of 3 vague and fairly generic points: Bat, Glove, and Presence. Once you finish reading my nonsense, you can immediately go over and read Justin’s counter-rant. No doubt it will be more elegant and pro-Weeks then the rant you are about to read. I would apologize, but again…this is an opinion piece, and I am trying to start a fight with my friend.
Bat: There is no time like the present…unless you are Rickie Weeks. Right now he is in the midst of a slump that would make a T-Baller start drinking (for the record: I do not condone children drinking after T-Ball games…at least not without parental consent). I don’t know the exact number…and I don’t want to know. But for the sake of argument, let us just say he is 5 for 60-ish. That is not even the most disturbing part about his current slump. What is most bothersome to me, his sudden lack of power and pathetic at-bats. Over the course of that impressive 9 game winning streak, Weeks struggled to get a baseball into the outfield grass. Monday night was the best example yet of Weeks’ inability to produce offensively, scoring 2 runs (both via fielders’ choice) and striking out twice for another 0-for-4 evening…his third 0-for in a row, for those of you following along at home. This time you can’t blame it on batting behind Ryan Braun either, as he was batting 2nd. Then on Tuesday he racked up his 4th consecutive 0-for, going 0-for-3 with 2 more strikeouts batting 5th.
Now, as recently as a few weeks ago (no pun intended) people were telling me, “Oh well Rickie’s value is his ability to get on base.” Ok, so what happens when that is gone too? Sure his season OBP is around .275, but that is not great. It’s mediocre. It’s ‘Community’…you watch it because it is on before ‘Parks and Recreation’, it isn’t good or bad it’s just…there.
His at-bats seem to be shorter and shorter each game, while his personal strike zone gets larger. By personal strike zone I mean, the area where a player believes they can make solid contact with the ball. On Monday night I watched him swing at a breaking ball 2 feet off the plate and in the dirt, followed by a pitch at his knees down the middle of the plate…that he watched go by and then pretended like it was a bad call. And for an encore on Tuesday night, he was swinging at every pitch he saw…although swing is not the right word, flailed is probably more accurate. These are habits of a bad hitter. It is time for RW to take a game or two off, because he is adding nothing to the team offensively. With both RW and Alex Gonzalez on the team, it is hard to know who to throw our beer bottles at. During that winning streak, Rickie was making Adam Dunn look like a disciplined hitter. So if Weeks can’t bat clean-up, he can’t bat in the two hole, and he can’t bat 5th…are we really paying a 6,7,or 8 hitter almost $10 million a season? Kind of looks that way right now.
Glove: At least his glove can’t strike out, right? We all know that defense has never been his best attribute, but right now it is his only attribute. There was that stunning botched pop-up at Wrigley Field a few weeks ago, but that could have happened to anyone considered legally blind. Other than that booboo and the 2 errors on Wednesday night, he has played a pretty solid 2nd base so far this season. RW and Jean Segura seem to have some above-average chemistry, but it is not anywhere near the type of chemistry Segura was rumored to have had with Scooter Gennett. But that’s not what I am here to rant about. Personally, I have never taken issue with his spotty defense. At times he looks like a gold glove caliber 2nd baseman, while in other instances he looks like a career Catcher who, due to injury, has been forced into the position. For the most part, he is solid and occasionally looks like a grown man who lit his pant leg on fire and can’t figure out how to extinguish himself. But now that the bat has gone to sleep, is his defense good enough to keep him on the field 6 days a week? I don’t think so.
Presence: This is where things are going to take a turn for the negative. I don’t think that at any point in his Brewers career, Weeks has been classified as a leader. Maybe I am wrong (wouldn’t be the first time), but I do not ever recall reading anything about how Rickie is the rock of the clubhouse. So, I am going to remove that from the table now. However, that does not mean you cannot carry yourself as if you are the baddest man (feel free to insert adult themed profanity) on planet earth. On Tuesday night, Weeks approached the plate like he knew he was going to either ground out or strikeout. You could see it on his face. And it is not like he was facing Justin Verlander or Clayton Kershaw, although he was facing a Clayton….Clayton Richards, who left the game after recording 5 outs and giving up 6 runs. Granted, Weeks was able to coax a walk out of Richards, but that was the high point of his evening. The point is, when you walk up to the plate to face young guys you must have swagger. It is imperative. Even if you don’t feel it, you can fake it. Or at the very least buy some body spray made by Old Spice…which is called “Swagger”, or the one where hawks follow you around to poker games. Baseball is 80% mental and 40% physical (thank you Little Giants, starring Rick Moranis).
My point is, at this very moment…I have more presence in the batters’ box than Rickie. And I just play beer league softball…so how can this be? I am fairly confident that anyone reading this might be able to beat RW in a home run derby. That is how little presence the guy has today. Imagine a kid who lost his favorite blanket, a dog who buried a bone in the backyard that he can no longer find, or even a pastry chef who ran out of flour…these are all moments that exist on this earth, that carry the same presence as Rickie Weeks has through 4 weeks of April.
Alright Schultz…your witness.