The decline of Rickie Weeks

Rickie, when he's hot, is an awesome player. Offensively. When he's not hot, he looks completely lost and terrible. He's always been streaky, so it's tough to get a good look at him to judge where he's at.

First think I did is I went back to his first real season of 2005, and grabbed all his data and tried to adjust it for BABIP. I understand that a player in part makes their own luck, but I wanted to adjust for his streaky-ness to show how his game is improving or declining. So I normalized his batting average (which in turn affected his OB%, SLG, and OPS) to a BABIP of .300, which was the 2012 league average.

This is the raw & adjusted data:


You can see that his performance is all over the map, affected by different factors, and sometimes he's "seeing the ball real well" or "struggling to put hits together" in manager-speak. When you apply the deviation from the league norm BABIP to his average, assuming that hits falling in or flying over the wall rather than being windblown outs are the result of chance rather than intention, then it starts to soften the curves on his wild data.

This is what it looks like in bar graph form:

Not very indicative of anything, since it still pretty random. So what I did to check his trends is to average his monthly performance out over a 12-month period. Here's the data:

Now the trends are starting to appear. Rickie was less productive in his first couple of seasons, then got his game on, and then it has been declining.

The last entry is very low, because it has been at least 5 season/months since his last "crazy good" month and it averages out. We can probably expect him to have a good July, like he usually does, then drop off in August again, like he usually does. This will make the last entry look better, but the longer-term trend is there; with even-odds luck (BABIP) Rickie is no longer an .800-850 OPS player. We should probably get used to the ebbs-and-flows of his performance to give us something closer to .750 at this point, or less.

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