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Opening Day Countdown: Team Rickie Forever!

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We're just 23 days away from real live baseball so of course I'm going to talk about Rickie Weeks!

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Unabashed is the word I would choose to describe my Rickie Weeks fandom. Until the last two or three seasons with the Brewers, he was always the most underrated player on the team. He might not have been the superstar people hoped or unfairly expected him to be. But there's no denying that he was one of the best second basemen in baseball for several years.

Rickie Weeks' real problem was that he played before sabremetrics took off into the mainstream. Fans that didn't like him hated how much he struck out and couldn't overlook his poor defense. If they had, they'd have seen a dynamic offensive player in the middle of the diamond. His first full season came in 2007. He suffered multiple injuries to his ankle and wrists that contributed to his decline after the 2011 season. So let's look at that window where he was still good.

Season PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wRC+ fWAR
2007 506 15.4 22.9 235 374 433 113 3.1
2008 560 11.8 20.5 234 342 398 99 2.0
2009 162 7.4 24.1 272 340 517 126 1.3
2010 754 10.1 24.4 269 366 464 127 6.0
2011 515 9.7 20.8 269 350 468 124 3.3

There wasn't a single season in this time span that Weeks was below average. Even in 2009 when he was hurt early on, he was on pace for a well above average season. He was a bonefide superstar caliber player in 2010--his WAR that year was tied with Miguel Cabrera and Shin Soo Choo for 13th best in baseball among position players.

His combined slash line over this time period was 255/357/448 which was good for a 117 wRC+. Among second basemen that was the 6th best offense. His 15.8 fWAR--which does factor in his poor defense--was good for 9th best among second basemen. So during this time span Rickie Weeks was objectively a top ten player at his position. It's a shame so many Brewers fans couldn't see that.

And of course their poor opinion of him was only reinforced after the 2012 season when he started to fall apart. His time with the Brewers ended after the 2014 season. During this time span he hit 233/327/398 (99 wRC+) in a part time role due to injury and ineffectiveness. I think it's still impressive that even after this rough stretch he still has a career .345 OBP.

Weeks is no longer with the Brewers, but his career isn't over just yet. Last year he played some with the Mariners but only go 95 plate appearances--which weren't pretty. This year he signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks. Considering their weird infield and corner outfield situation, he might have a chance to latch on as a bench player. Interesting that he's with them and now Aaron Hill is with the Brewers. I for one wish Weeks all the best and hope he can play one last game at Miller Park!

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs