The Brewers were a very bad team for a long time. Starting in the early 2000s, the used their high draft picks to select players that would lead the team out of the cellar. In 2003, they used the second overall pick in the draft to select Rickie Weeks, who would be a mainstay in the Brewers lineup for the better part of a decade. In this edition of Brewers Past and Present, we look at the career of slugging second baseman, Rickie Weeks.
Rickie Weeks’s Minor League Career
When the Brewers selected Weeks with the second overall pick in 2003, it was clear that he would not be in the minors for long. In fact, the team decided to give Weeks a taste of the Big Leagues right away that season. In seven games, he recorded two hits in 12 at-bats. He preformed much better with A-Level Beloit, hitting .349/494/.556 with 10 extra base hits and 16 RBI.
Weeks spent the 2004 season with AA Huntsville. During that campaign, he hit .259/.366/.407. with eight home runs and 42 RBI. He also added six triples and 35 doubles. It would be his last season as a full-time prospect.
Rickie Weeks in Milwaukee
Rickie Weeks was in the Majors to stay in 2005. That season, he played in 96 games, hitting .239/.333/.394 with 13 home runs and 42 RBI. He also showed a penchant for drawing hits by pitch, and was plunked 11 times that year. He would actually lead the league in being hit by a pitch twice, first in 2006 and again in 2010. His play during the ’05 campaign earned him a sixth place finish in the Rookie of the Year vote.
While Weeks was never one to hit for a high average (career .247 average), he was extraordinarily good at finding ways to get on base. During his time with the Brewers, Weeks was predominantly the lead-off man and boasted an on-base percentage over .350 five times. The weakest part of his game, though, was his defense at second base. He led all NL second basemen in errors five times, including his rookie season in which he only played 96 games.
Weeks’ bat, though, was enough to keep him in the lineup for 10 seasons. From 2010-2012, he did not hit less than 20 home runs in a season, including a career best 29 in 2010. He made his only career All-Star team in 2011 and participated in the Home Run Derby that year, an event that teammate Prince Fielder also participated in.
At the plate, Weeks had an unusually quick swing. While this could generate a lot of power or result in good slap hits, hit also took a toll on his wrists. In his 10 seasons with Milwaukee, Weeks played more than 120 games only four times. His injury woes and decline in his already shaky defense led the Brewers to allow Weeks to walk in free agency following the 2014 season.
One of the reasons Weeks left Milwaukee was because the team wanted him to try playing in the outfield. Believing he could still be a productive second baseman, he decided to sign with Seattle. With Seattle, though, he did end up playing left field, but only appeared in 37 games.
In 2016, Weeks played for the Arizona Diamond Backs. In his best season after leaving Milwaukee, Weeks hit .239/.327/.450 with nine home runs and 27 RBI in 108 games. That year, he split time between left field and right field.
Weeks ended his baseball career with a forgettable 37-game stint with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2017. This time, the team had him playing first base and designated hitter. In his brief time with the Rays, Weeks hit just .216/.321/.340 with two home runs and eight RBI.
Despite the injuries and below-average defense, Rickie Weeks was an important part of the Brewers’ organization. He was on the 2008 team that snapped Milwaukee’s 26-year playoff drought. In addition, he was an important part of the 2011 team that made it to the National League Championship Series. In honor of his contributions to Brewers’ baseball, Weeks was added to the Brewers Wall of Honor last season, along with JJ Hardy and Trevor Hoffman.
More Brewers Past and Present
- Orlando Arcia
- Jeff Cirillo
- Cecil Cooper
- Paul Molitor
- Justin Smoak
- Ben Sheets
- Bob Uecker
- Keston Hiura
- Josh Hader
- Ted Simmons
- Gorman Thomas
- Pete Vuckovich
- Rollie Fingers
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