Monday, June 28, 2010

What To Do With Weeks?

Since June 5th, Rickie Weeks has been a force atop the Brewers lineup. Here are his numbers.

.325 Batting Average (25/77)
.453 On Base Percentage (12 Walks, 6 HBP)
.597 Slugging Percentage (46 Total Bases; 6 2B, 5 HR)
1.050 OPS

This is a very nice stretch in what has been a great season thus far.

Weeks' struggles to make contact have been well documented. He has struck out 84 times this season (6th most in MLB). As of Monday, Weeks is striking out 27.5% of the time. He has always been a high strike out candidate, but that is the second highest rate in his career. Weeks career average for strikeouts is 26.5%, so believe it or not, he is pretty much in line with what is common for him.

What makes Weeks so valuable despite the strikeouts is his ability to hit for power and still show very good patience.

To combat the high strikeout rate, Weeks has walked 10.4% of the time this season. He stands right on top of the plate, which has led to quite a few HBP. Weeks has been beaned a major league high 13 times this season, including six times in June alone. Combine that with high nice walk total, Weeks has reached base 50 times via those two ways on base.

Rickie plays second base, which is usually not a place where teams expect offense. Here is where Weeks ranks among ML second basemen.

On Base Percentage- .370 (5th)
Slugging Percentage- .458 (10th)
On Base Plus Slugging- .828 (8th)
Runs- 50 (6th)
Home Runs- 13 (3rd)
wOBA- .366 (7th)

With these numbers, Weeks has already racked up a WAR of 2.0 this season. According to Fangraphs, that is equivalent to an $8 million value. This got me thinking.

With all the talk of what Prince Fielder is going to fetch in free agency, why hasn't Rickie Weeks' name been mentioned as a long term signing? Weeks has solidified himself as a very important player for the organization.

Currently, Weeks has accumulated just over four years of MLB service time. That means Weeks will hit the free agent waters after the 2011 season. With a year and a half remaining before Weeks could leave, the Brewers need to start thinking extension. I really believe Weeks would be open to this and could be had at a pretty good bargain. Here are his comments from an interview earlier this season.

"If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't," Weeks said. "You don't want to leave too much on the table, but then there's security."

Financial security is always a big draw for some players, but could be even more important for Weeks. He has had injury problems in the past and has already underwent two surgeries. It could be a risk for the Brewers, but from what I've seen from Weeks so far, it's a risk worth taking. They could lock up a very good player at a position where good players are tough to come by.


Gregor said...

I think a big thing holding back a long term signing is Weeks history of injury. If he makes it this whole year without any significant time on the DL then I'd look into locking him up for a few years.

Nick said...

Every game he logs where he is healthy though his price tag goes up. Take the risk and lock him up now, wouldn't be the biggest gamble that Melvin has made.

Jonathan Ede said...

Very true. The longer he stays unsigned and performs well, the price will likely rise. I'm sure him and his agent understand how valuable Weeks can be. Delaying things is only going to hurt the Brewers pocketbooks if they are going to think extension.

John @BrewCrewBlog said...

I think that Rickie has been doing real well, especially as of late and also agree that the long the team waits, the more this cat is worth.

They have time to fix the pitching, but they also need to secure their offense as well. Nice post!