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Key Stats: There was no doubt about Rickie Week’s potential to be a top 40 player like he was last season. He has always been a terrific value when healthy. Look at his 162 game pace leading up to last season:

2009 – 122 R 39 HR 105 RBI 9 SB
2008 – 112 R 18 HR 58 RBI 24 SB
2007 – 119 R 22 HR 49 RBI 34 SB
2006 – 124 R 14 HR 58 RBI 32 SB
2005 – 95 R 22 HR 71 RBI 25 SB

It’s hard to classify last year as a “breakout,” but consider that before last year he was never ranked in the top 200 for a full season. Until last year he’d never stayed healthy for a full season. At 28 years-old, it only seems like Weeks has been around forever.

Skeptics Say: Weeks has suffered a couple wrist injuries and a thumb injury over the course of his career. He seemed to heal just fine last year, but I want to have complete piece of mind before I take someone with a top 30 pick, so Weeks is ranked down here.

One other thing that is a little concerning is that even in his brief 2009 season, Weeks was not very effective stealing bases, and last year he stole only 11 bases.

Peer Comparison: Ranking Ian Kinsler ahead of Weeks is hard to do. Both players have historically had the same problem of staying on the field, but last year Kinsler wasn’t much good when he was on the field. Kinsler had just 1 home run on June 25th of last year. His fly ball rate dropped by more than 12% for the season. Going by the month though, the power did start to get better for Kinsler in September and during the playoffs he had a run of three home runs in four games. His HR:FB rate was a bit unlucky compared to prior seasons, so the home runs should come come up a little this season.

By comparison, Weeks’ home run to fly ball rate was relatively high in a season in which is overall fly ball rate was low. Going by the months, July seems to be an outlier in which he had a fly ball rate that was too high and a home run to fly ball rate that was equally out of place. I would expect his home runs to come down as a result of playing less games anyway, but even if he got 160 games again this year, it should still come down. Weeks should still have an advantage in home runs, but the gap will be much more narrow than the 20 home runs the two were separated by last season.

After that, most of the advantages go to Kinsler. RBI goes to Kinsler since Weeks has a huge disadvantage with the pitcher hitting ahead of him all season. Average goes to Kinsler since he hits for an average that is almost 30 points higher for his career than Weeks and Weeks had less line drives, but a higher BABIP last season. And steals has to go to Kinsler since he had more steals than Weeks last year despite appearing in 57 less games.

Weeks will outscore Kinsler by a healthy amount per game, but I would take Kinsler over Weeks next season.

Lineup Outlook: Add in last season’s 112 runs with the number of runs that Weeks has been on pace to scored with the key stats, and you have one of the most efficient run scorers in all of baseball when he’s in the lineup. A huge key to the continued success of Weeks’ run scoring will obviously be if Prince Fielder gets traded during the season. The Brewers are clearly going for it this season after making the trade for Zack Greinke and adding Shaun Marcum, but if things don’t go as planned by July they would have to do the responsible thing and shop Fielder.

What They’re Saying: Yahoo: #7 Second Baseman & #50 Overall; CBS Sportsline: #6 Second Baseman; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #57 Overall; John Halpin of Fox Sports: #46 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #40 Overall; RotoChamp: #82 Overall

Projection: Weeks will play 129 games.
94 R 21 HR 67 RBI .270 AVG .835 OPS

 

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