Regression Candidate: Can Rickie Weeks Replicate His 2010 Success

Did Rickie Weeks finally put things together in 2010?  He’s been talked about as a potential breakout star for some time, though injuries and inability perennially short-circuited those hopes.

The 2010 season was the first time Weeks played in more then 129 games as he posted the following impressive line:

651 At Bats
.269 Batting Average (175 Hits)
29 Home Runs
83 RBI
112 Runs
11 Stolen Bases
.366 On Base Percentage
.464 Slugging Percentage
.332 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Now, the question is, can he replicate this success in 2011?

The strikeouts, which have always been at least a little concern, is growing larger and larger as each season passes.  Just look at his marks the past three seasons:

  • 2008 – 24.2%
  • 2009 – 26.5%
  • 2010 – 28.3%

That certainly helps Weeks need a lot of luck to post a usable average.  Does he have the speed to backup his 2010 mark?  He does, but he hadn’t really come close to it the prior three seasons (.287, .277 & .313).  Yes, they were all marred by injuries (he didn’t have more then 475 AB in a year), but it needs to be mentioned all the same.

The power will also play a role in the average (since the fewer home runs, the more balls that are put in play).  I’m just not sold that he can maintain a 29 HR pace.

First of all, he actually only had one month with more then five home runs in 2010 (he hit nine in July).  That’s only the second time since 2006 that he achieved that feat.  If he’s only going to average four or five home runs a month, it’s impossible to imagine him replicating a mark of 29.

Secondly, he posted a fly ball rate of 35.8% (similar to his career mark of 36.7%) and a HR/FB of 17.3% (his career mark is 13.7%).  I know people are going to point to 2009, when he posted a HR/FB of 19.1%, but that came in just 147 AB, too small of a sample size to draw any conclusions from.  Look at his prior three seasons (all at least 359 AB):

  • 2006 – 9.1%
  • 2007 – 13.2%
  • 2008 – 9.9%

Couple the potential drop in power to the decrease in luck and there is a realistic chance that Weeks posts an unusable average.  I would put the odds better that he hits .240 then him hitting .280.

A potential decrease in average and home runs will likely come with a decrease in runs and RBI, as well.  Of course, improvements from Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun will help Weeks at least come close to his run total if he were producing.  If he struggles, it’s no guarantee that he remains hitting atop the Brewers order, which would only further hurt his potential production.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m not a big proponent of Weeks for 2011.  I wouldn’t over reach for him based on his 2009 production because there are a lot of reasons to be skeptical of him repeating those numbers.  I’d consider him more of a last resort option on draft day as opposed to a player I would count on.

What about you?  How do you expect Weeks to perform in 2011?  Can he replicate his 2010 success?

Make sure to check out some of our 2011 projections:

One comment

  1. Frank Kim says:

    Great article. Didn’t know about the K rate and HR/FB rate.

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