A theory: Rickie Weeks is fueled by HBP

USA TODAY Sports

It sounds crazy, but the numbers are irrefutable.

Let's review two points that most Brewer fans will know and acknowledge:

  1. Rickie Weeks got off to a very slow start to the 2013 season.
  2. Rickie Weeks is the Brewers' all-time career leader in HBP, with 114.

For whatever the reason, Rickie Weeks has a knack for getting hit with baseballs. He's been hit roughly once every eight and a half games during his Brewer career, led the National League with 19 in 2006 and led all of baseball with 25 in 2010, when he had the best year of his career.

So we've established that, when Weeks is at his best, he's getting hit by lots of pitches. In April and May of this year, though, he was hardly hit at all.

Think back for a moment to May 28, if you will. The Brewers lost on this day (like most days in May), 6-5 to the Twins in 14 innings. Rickie Weeks went 1-for-6 with three strikeouts in this game. He was not hit by a pitch and, at this point, he had been hit just one time in his first 49 games. He was hitting just .179/.281/.274. We were having relatively consistent conversations about his lack of production.

One day later, though, things turned around. In the seventh inning of a game at Target Field, Weeks was hit by Twins pitcher Samuel Deduno. Weeks got a hit in that game, and he's hitting .317/.408/.577 since that day. Counting that one, he's been hit five times in a 33 game stretch, or roughly once every six and a half games. He was hit again last night, in the middle of a game where he went 2-for-3 with a double. He's raised his OPS 165 points since the aforementioned fateful Twins game.

Weeks' future with this team is still in doubt, of course, as I'm reminded nearly every time I appear on the radio. There's still an argument to be had about whether he's a good player who goes on long slumps or a bad player who occasionally gets hot. But I present to you this theory, supported by my cherry-picked facts: When Weeks is down, he may only be one good plunking away from getting hot again.

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