Rickie Weeks Jr.
|Rickie Weeks Jr.|
|Tampa Bay Rays – No. 8|
|Left fielder / Second baseman|
September 13, 1982 |
Altamonte Springs, Florida
|September 15, 2003, for the Milwaukee Brewers|
(through 2016 season)
|Runs batted in||466|
|Career highlights and awards|
Rickie Darnell Weeks Jr. (born September 13, 1982) is an American professional baseball left fielder in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, and Arizona Diamondbacks. He was named an MLB All-Star in 2011.
Weeks bats and throws right-handed. Until the 2009 season, Weeks had a distinctive batting stance similar to that of Gary Sheffield, waggling his bat heavily before swinging. The waggle is still present, but noticeably less aggressive. Weeks pointed to this change when asked about his improved presence at the plate in 2009. While primarily a second baseman throughout his career, Weeks transitioned to left field in 2015.
Born and raised in Altamonte Springs, Florida, Weeks attended Lake Brantley High School. At Lake Brantley, Weeks played baseball, but also played football as a cornerback and wide receiver for a season. Weeks then attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As a sophomore in 2002, he batted .495 with 20 home runs, winning the NCAA Division I batting title. The next year, he batted .479 with 16 home runs, winning a second straight batting title and finishing his career with a .473 batting average, highest in NCAA history. In 2003 he also was named Baseball America College Player of the Year and the Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the top amateur player. The Milwaukee Brewers selected him second overall in the 2003 MLB Draft.
Weeks signed a contract with a $3.6 million signing bonus. He made his major league debut on September 15, 2003.
Weeks did not become a full-time player for the Brewers until June 2005, when he was recalled from the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, despite playing much of the 2005 season with a thumb injury. In his first full MLB season in 2005, Weeks had a batting average of .239 to go with 13 home runs and 15 stolen bases in 96 games. These HR/SB number are consistent with his minor league totals (playing in 209 games) of 21 home runs and 24 stolen bases. In 2006, Weeks hit .279 with 8 home runs, 34 RBIs, and 19 stolen bases in 95 games.
In 2008, he had the lowest fielding percentage (.975) and the most errors (15) of all NL second basemen. On offense, however, Weeks scored 46.6% of the time he reached base, second-best in the NL.
In Game 1 of the 2008 NL Division Series, Weeks made a key error in the third inning that led to three unearned runs scored by the Phillies in Philadelphia's 3–1 victory. In Game 3, Weeks injured his knee while trying to beat out a throw at first base. He underwent surgery the next day to remove torn cartilage from his left knee.
On February 3, 2009, Weeks and the Brewers reached a one-year deal worth $2.45 million, thereby avoiding salary arbitration. Weeks could have earned an additional $100,000 in performance bonuses based on plate appearances from 575 to 650.
In early 2009, sabermetrician Bill James wrote in John Dewan's "The Fielding Bible Volume II," that Weeks should be moved to a position other than second base, as he had 44 defensive misplays that season. Dewan ranked Weeks the worst starting second baseman in the majors.
Back atop the lineup to begin the 2009 season, Weeks had a .281/.333/.486 start with five home runs in April. On May 18, 2009, Weeks was diagnosed with a torn muscle in his left wrist, and missed the remainder of the 2009 season. At the time of his injury, Weeks was tied with Prince Fielder for the team lead in home runs.
Playing in 160 games, Weeks recorded his finest season as a pro, and perhaps the best all-around season a Brewer second baseman has ever had. On June 12, 2010, Weeks tallied his 500th hit at Miller Park and received a standing ovation. Weeks finished with a career-high 29 home runs and 83 RBIs. He led the NL in at bats (651), plate appearances (754), and hit by pitch (25), and was second in runs scored (112); Weeks also finished third in the league in strikeouts (184).
On February 16, 2011, Weeks signed a contract extension for 4 years at 38 million dollars. The deal includes an option for a 5th year provided Weeks is an everyday player in 2013 and 2014, and could raise the total value of the contract to 50 million dollars.
Weeks was voted by the fans to be the starting second baseman for the National League in the 2011 All-Star Game. Weeks sustained a severe ankle sprain he sustained while legging out an infield single in July. Weeks was placed on the DL until early September, and his offensive production was significantly hampered down the stretch. On September 27, in the second to last game of the regular season, Weeks hit one of the longest home runs ever hit at Miller Park, off the stadium club windows in left field. It was his first home run since his return from the DL, and his 20th of the season.
In the 2011 regular season, he batted .269 with 20 home runs. On defense, he led the NL in errors by a second baseman for the fourth season, with 25, and his .969 fielding percentage was the lowest of all major league starting second basemen. However, advanced defensive metrics were more favorable, pegging him as a league-average defender at the keystone.
Despite a slow start in April and May 2012, Weeks rebounded beginning in June and posted typical power numbers, albeit with a dip in his on-base totals, which had been a hallmark of his value to that point. Weeks had a poor 2013 season, posting career lows in nearly all major offensive categories. A torn hamstring ended his season in August, and Scooter Gennett replaced him at second base.
In the 2014 season, his contract year with Milwaukee, Weeks has assumed the right-handed part of Milwaukee's productive second base platoon, starting versus all left-handed starting pitchers. Although over only 286 plate appearances, he returned to pre-2012 form hitting .274/.357/.452. With Gennett, Brewers second basemen ranked fourth in the National League in Wins Above Replacement, and 11th league-wide. After the 2014 season, the Brewers declined his contract option ending his ten-year tenure with the Brewers.
Weeks signed with the Seattle Mariners on a one-year, $2 million contract on February 13, 2015. Weeks received sporadic playing time, and had a .167 batting average with three extra base hits in 95 plate appearances through early June. He was designated for assignment on June 13, and released on June 21.
Tampa Bay Rays
Weeks married Tiphany Easterling on January 18, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Weeks is the son of Richard and Valeria Weeks. Week's father Richard played college baseball for Seton Hall University and Stetson University. His grandfather was an outfielder in the Negro Leagues during the 1940s, and his sister Kaisha was an NCAA Regional Finalist at Southern University in track. Weeks's brother Jemile Weeks was drafted by the Brewers in 2005 out of high school, but never signed with them, choosing to attend the University of Miami instead. The Oakland Athletics drafted Jemile in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft twelfth overall.
- Baseball America College Player of the Year – 2003
- Dick Howser Trophy – 2003
- Golden Spikes Award – 2003
- Rotary Smith Award – 2003
- Southwestern Athletic Conference's Most Outstanding Hitter – 2003
- Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Year – 2003
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