Opening Day Countdown: Weeks’ 25 HBPs in ’10
As we continue to countdown to Opening Day, let’s take a look back at Rickie Weeks’ 25 times a pitch in 2010 hit him. As Brewers fans remember, the years were soon starting to end for the core group of hitters as Prince Fielder’s contract was about to be done in 2011, so they had no time to waste to make one last push. Although 2008 was a fun ride into the playoffs going 90-72, a final push was what Brewers fans wanted.
But, looking back on 2010, Weeks came to life. And although the Brewers broke back into the playoffs in 2011, and Weeks was an All-Star, most could argue his better full year was 2010. It helps when you lead the NL in PAs (754) and ABs (651) as he started 160 games. Of course, all career highs. His batting line too was at the top of his game at .269/.366/.464 with 29 HRs and 83 RBIs with an overall 5.2 Offensive WAR (5th in the NL). Did I say this was a non-All-Star year?
But, getting back to the main topic is Weeks’ 25 HBPs, which was 1st in the league in 2010. Of no surprise, his teammate, Fielder came in tied for 2nd with Juan Pierre at 21. But, just why was Weeks hit so much? Here’s a quick video to remind you of his batting stance with his arms held down lower than most against the Mets in 2014 to show how he wasn’t afraid of getting hit by pitch (especially when the bases are loaded in the 13th inning):
Most players would back off a bit from the plate, but both Weeks and Fielder were well known for staying over the plate if it meant getting a hit a few times. But, Weeks wasn’t alone at 25 HBPs at the top of the list of all-time in a single season. Another 2B for the Brewers tied the mark.
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Fernando Vina in 1998 tied Weeks with 25 HBPs. But, for him, it was a little bit different. First, it was the year he made it to his only All-Star game. Plus, he was a very different player compared to Weeks not known for his power, but more for his speed, defense, and OBP.
Also, this wasn’t even Vina’s peak in HBPs as 2000 was his career high with 28. He led all of the MLB that year. Not so sure it’s something to brag about, but he soon would have his first Gold Glove the next year, so he could quickly have an award to put up on the shelf.
As Weeks now is at an uphill battle trying to make the squad with the Arizona Diamondbacks after a rough year with the Seattle Mariners in 2015, It’s useful to remember his peak seasons with the Crew as his Gary Sheffield-like shake of the arms brought plenty of highlights to get fans cheering to get in line for their first NL Central title.