With all the hoopla surrounding Milwaukee Brewers’ second baseman Rickie Weeks, it’s hard to simply ignore the problem at hand. Yes, as it’s been documented not only this season, but last season, Weeks has not had a fun time at the plate, as indicated by his lowering batting average and higher strikeout rate.
But in all honesty, is it going to affect the team in any way, shape, or form if Weeks continues to struggle?
We’ve been seeing this out of Rickie Weeks for awhile now. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Well in all honesty, there are a few things about Weeks that we need realize:
He’s never going to have a high batting average.
Face it, he’s just never going to be a contact hitter. This season in particular, Weeks is hitting an abysmal .169 with three homers and 10 RBIs. Yes, Weeks does provide some power in his approach at the plate, but that’s about it, all or nothing. The highest average Rickie ever had was .279 back in 2006 when he only played in 95 games. Any season that Weeks played over 100 games, his average never dipped above .270. This really should come as no surprise to people, yet a lot of fans complain about his average day in, day out. Get over it, Weeks is never going to have a stunning average and for those of you expecting it, boy do I have some bad news for you.
From 2008 on, Weeks has consistently seen his strikeout rate rise from 20.5 percent to currently 29.5 percent in 2013. Last year, Weeks had the highest strikeout rate in his career at 25 percent. Clearly he’s just not seeing the ball well, or is just over anxious. Regardless, this has been a clear problem for Rickie as strikeouts have become one of his most common form of outs next to grounders.
Scooter is not the answer…yet.
It seems the one person fans have been wanting to see in Weeks’ place is none other than prospect Scooter Gennett. While Gennett certainly has the potential to be a decent second baseman in the majors, he’s just not there yet. Some people may think that Gennett’s current .315 batting average with 12 RBIs and seven stolen bases warrants him a guaranteed spot on the 25-man roster, but it doesn’t. Remember, 2013 is Scooter’s first year tasting Triple-A ball and while he’s doing well with the Nashville Sounds, instantly thrusting him into an everyday position at the major league level is unnecessary.
Right now, the only option the Brewers have to turn to is Jeff Bianchi and even then, that’s not a long lasting option. Gennett is going to be a major league player very soon, but not in 2013. Gennett has the high potential to be a September call-up, but as for a team trying to fight their way back, they’re going to go with the veteran presence over a rookie any day, even if he’s struggling. This isn’t a knock to Gennett, but much like his teammate Hunter Morris who was thought to be the Brew Crew’s first baseman this season, he’s just not ready and needs more time to fine tune everything.
Scooter Gennett (left) needs at least a full year in Triple-A before coming up to the majors on a regular basis. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
The Brewers WILL go on with or without Rickie.
This is the sad truth for not only Weeks, but Brewers’ fans alike. The team is not going to idly stand by and wait for Weeks to simply put it all together. As we’ve seen, the Brewers have one of the most potent offenses in the game with the bats of Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, Jean Segura, Norichika Aoki, Carlos Gomez and the list goes on. There’s no reason to think that this team will just fall off if Weeks cannot get a grip at the plate, because honestly, the problem has been starting pitching, but that’s another article for another time.
In the field, Weeks has been a disaster this season, already committing five errors, two of which came in one game. This isn’t exactly shocking for most people as Rickie isn’t the smoothest second baseman in the game, but it’s definitely not reassuring either.
Unfortunately for Weeks, time is starting to run out as he’ll be a free agent after the 2014 season. By then, if Gennett is ready to go, then expect Milwaukee and Weeks to part ways, especially if he can’t put it together. Last year, we saw the same lack of production out of Weeks, but from about August on, he was on fire. Hopefully the team can get that from him again, but if not, they’ll still win games and they’ll still lose games.
Weeks isn’t the worst player you can have on your team, but for what he’s being paid, he’s certainly up there. Then again, if you’re Mark Attanasio and Doug Melvin, how do you justify sitting $11 million a year on the bench when you have some players who are vastly underpaid that produce much more than Weeks? It’s such a back and forth issue that really has only two endings: Weeks will improve his approach at the plate or in due time lose his job to Scooter or someone else. Rickie can be extremely deadly at the plate with the power he packs, but if he continues to lack in his discipline at the plate, we’re going to see him throwing his helmet a lot more than his fist in the air after a home run.