Let me stop the Rickie Weeks cynics and the Scooter Gennett lovers dead in their tracks; there will not be a second base takeover in the near future. Even though Weeks’ contract expires after the 2014 campaign, the Brewers brass will re-sign him if they have even half a brain.
Some Brewers fans are calling for the removal of Weeks after one significantly bad season. Forget about 2012. Erase Weeks’ pathetic excuse of a season where he posted a .230 batting average and struck out a whopping 169 times and take this into consideration. Weeks was coming off a gruesome ankle injury in 2011 that clearly bothered him during the first half of the season. As a result, he got into some bad habits and slightly (but enough to do some damage) altered his swing. This new swing contributed to his worst season in his major league career.
Rickie Weeks is primed for a bounce back season. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
But as his ankle improved so did his play. After hitting .183 in the seasons first three months, Weeks finished strong, batting .270 the rest of the way. This is the Weeks we can expect in 2013. If his ankle holds up and if the rest of his body doesn’t let him down, he’ll hit around .270 with 25 home runs and 80 RBIs.
Even Ron Roenicke believes that Weeks will bounce back nicely.
"I think Rickie will be back to being Rickie. I truly think the ankle injury messed up Rickie for not just the end of that season but the first half of the season last year. It’s a tough injury to come back from when you depend a lot on your stride and how you land. There’s a lot of things there that led me to believe that was the reason."
However, Roenicke must find a different spot for him in the lineup than leadoff. Weeks is by no means a true leadoff hitter; in fact, he’s probably one of the worst. His strikeout numbers are too high and his on-base percentage, which ranked 41st in the National League last season, is too low to be taken seriously as the first man up. With his power and ability to drive the ball, batting him fifth would be ideal, at least until Corey Hart recovers from knee surgery. Leave the leadoff position to Norichika Aoki and stick Weeks in between Aramis Ramirez and Jonathon Lucroy, and watch him flourish.
I can understand the notion that Weeks is overpaid (he will make $10 million in 2013), but suggesting that he should be replaced by Gennett is ridiculous. I mean, you must be joking, right? Weeks’ combination of power and speed is rare, especially when talking about a second baseman. Organizations don’t just throw away that skill set after one lousy season.
Lasy year was a bump in Weeks’ career but he should in no way be judged on that alone. If he turns in another insufficent season to forget, then we can talk. But that won’t happen. Weeks is primed to return to the All-Star game.
Mark my words.