I miss Jemile Weeks,
To be more specific, I miss the rookie year incarnation of the player that provided a valid reason to watch a subpar 2011 Athletics team. I don’t think I’m in the minority when I make that statement. I miss his energy, his speed, and his slash and run style that fit so well at the top of the Athletics order.
What happened in 2012 was an enigma. Coming off a first-year campaign that yielding a slash line .303/ .340/.421 (110 wRC+), expectations were naturally high for Weeks as he entered 2012 and the Athletics put him front and center on an ad campaign leading into the season. It was logical that his unsustainable .350 BABIP from the season before would regress, but with his speed and growing plate discipline it seemed safe to say that he would continue to develop as a dynamic player.
Whether it was the burden of being christened an “untouchable player”, or simply the league exploiting his offensive deficiencies; things fell apart for Jemile Weeks. He posted a line of .221/.305/.304 73 (wRC+), and his BABIP fell to .256. The demise in offensive productivity combined with defensive difficulties, led to a much publicized demotion to Triple-A and as a result he was left off of the postseason roster. This past offseason did little to promote the A’s confidence in their former untouchable prospect. Acquisitions of Jed Lowrie and Hiroyuki Nakajima sent him tumbling further down the depth chart, making his return to Triple-A Sacramento imminent.
As of May 27th, Jemile Weeks is the proud owner of a .275/.403/.374 line at the Triple-A level. More surprisingly, Weeks has appeared in a handful of games at shortstop and reports from River Cats manager Steve Scarsone have described his work thus far as “playable”. In a move not unlike Brandon Moss‘s transition to first base last season, Weeks actually volunteered to play the position in order to hopefully expedite a promotion to the majors. While some A’s fan may scoff at the idea of the poor-throwing Weeks at a cornerstone position, perhaps he may yet open some eyes with his increased versatility if he can continue to play at an passable defensive level at multiple positions.
With the underperforming duo of Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard platooning at second base, I believe it’s fair to say that we may not have heard the last of Jemile Weeks. The once self proclaimed “star”, has no doubt been humbled by his failures and recently displayed a sense of a frustration through his Twitter account. A brief tour of his timeline, contains various motivational tweets containing truncated words and the underlying translation that he must remain patient and continue to work hard despite his setbacks. This proves to me that Weeks is still hungry, and every time Sogard is foolishly tossed out trying to take an extra base or Rosales pops-up on the first pitch with a runner at third and less than two outs, I cringe. I also hope. I hope that soon the Athletics will have a viable candidate to replace this terrible twosome of marginal players, with someone of greater talent and execution at the second base position. Whether this player be Grant Green, or Hiroyuki Nakajima, or Weeks himself is yet to be seen. The season is still relatively young, and there’s plenty of time for a surprise or two.
In the meantime, please enjoy Jemile Weeks playing the drums with the River Cats mascot. It’s an older clip, but I’d like to think of it in some fashion as a metaphor for his versatility.