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Ticking Time Bomb Jemile Weeks

February 10, 2012

 

Dan Hennessey had a really great post yesterday at Athletics Nation looking at 2011 A’s sensation Jemile Weeks reviewing his two-thirds of a season with Oakland. He writes,

“In Weeks’ first 97 major league games, he hit .303/.340/.421 for the A’s, stealing 22 bases while being caught 11 times. He walked just 21 times in 437 plate appearances but struck out 62 times. All told, his fWAR breakdown is as follows (his rWAR numbers are comparable):

  • Batting: 7.0 runs above replacement
  • Running: 0.4 runs below replacement
  • Fielding: 4.1 runs below replacement
  • Replacement: 14.6 runs above replacement
  • Positional: 1.5 runs above replacement
  • Total: 18.6 runs above replacement = 2.0 WAR

Looking at the breakdown, I think it matches my perception of Jemile from the first four months of his career. He was a pretty good hitter, but not super (109 OPS+). He played a decent base, showing good range but making too many errors on ‘easy’ plays. And he showed up a lot, playing in 97 of a possible 101 games, starting 96 of them.”

I agree with him that the perception matches what we saw from Weeks and I highly suggest reading the full post as I agree with the rest of his assessment regarding areas of his game where we should both expect, and where he needs, improvement.  But there is one thing that I disagree with with respect to his post. He writes,

“The part that I’m most concerned about were the [lack of] walks.”

The part I am most concerned about is his health. The 97 of 101 games was impressive, but it was far from the norm for the young Weeks. Weeks was drafted by the A’s in the 1st round of the 2008 amateur draft and played 19 games with the Midwest League Kane County Cougars that year missing time with a hip injury that delayed his 2009. That year he split time between Stockton and Midland only appearing in 80 games due to the injury. 2010 was more of the same, where he split time between the AZL Athletics and Midland only accumulating 77 games. This past year he participated in 142 contests, split between Sacramento and Oakland eclipsing his previous record of 80 by over a third of a season. That’s pretty significant.

That’s why when I see all these projections of Weeks, (excluding CAIRO) I think that we won’t see anything close to them.

  AB HR SB BA OBP SLG
Bill James 542   4 28 .279 .332 .387
CAIRO 373   4 13 .262 .316 .371
PECOTA 594*   6 21 .262 .316 .365
RotoChamp 565   3 29 .290 .333 .411
ZiPS 532   4 21 .267 .318 .374

* PECOTA uses plate appearances but doesn’t provide at-bats, that number reflects plate appearances minus bases on balls, though it can be assumed Weeks will have HBPs and sac flys or bunts that’d change that number. Therefore it is a rough estimator of his playing time.

Of course what I take exception to is the fact that these projections all assume Weeks will play all these games. Of course projections don’t project season-ending injuries, but there is a high likelihood given his past that Weeks is more likely to play in 80 or so contests than he is to play a 150+ game slate. This spells trouble for the A’s as next in line to become your second baseman is at best Adam Rosales or Eric Sogard. Think whatever you want of Jemile Weeks, that his OBP is too low, his baserunning ill-advised, etc but he is undoubtedly better than either of those two. Even if you think about it and say Scott Sizemore has been a second baseman his entire career slide him over, it means that one of those two becomes your third baseman (unless the A’s get creative and move Daric Barton to third in order to get him and Brandon Allen or Kila Ka’aihue in the lineup). We aren’t competing this year for any crowns or even the wild card or second wild card, but still second base could become very messy very quickly if Weeks misses anytime, a proposition that seems more likely than not.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Drew W permalink
    February 11, 2012 1:25 am

    Sogard seems okay as a short term backup, but anything more than a 15 day DL for Weeks and look out. Rosales might be okay too, for a while. Who else is there? Tolleson is gone, Cardenas is gone . . . maybe if Ellis flops with the Dodgers they will release him and he can come back for a final bow. Where’s Frank Menechino when you need him!

    • February 12, 2012 6:14 pm

      I wonder if this is how a Grant Green could ultimately get their shot? (of course let’s hope he plays his way onto the team as opposed to someone’s injury beginning his career)

  2. Kasper & Ghosts permalink
    February 11, 2012 3:31 am

    I want Ellis too finish his career as an Athletic as well.

    • February 12, 2012 6:14 pm

      That’d be nice. Let’s see where we are after his two-year deal is up!

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