Monday, June 13, 2005

More Presents....

With 2B Junior Spivey sent packing to D.C., it opened the door up for phenom Rickie Weeks to be called up, which took place on Friday. Weeks was absolutely tearing up the Pacific Coast League to the tune of a .320 batting average, .408 on-base percentage, and a .655 slugging percentage for AAA Nashville. He led the Nashville Sounds in batting average, home runs, rbi's, and just about every other offensive statistic prior to having his contract purchased by Milwaukee.

For those of you who aren't as familiar with Rickie, here's a bit of a scouting report on him. Weeks won consecutive batting titles in college at Southern University and set an NCAA record with a .473 career batting average. Rickie was drafted second overall in the '03 draft and signed for a Milwaukee team-record $3.6 million bonus. Milwaukee has been very aggressive w/his development path. He jumped to full-season ball at low Class A Beloit in 2003. In 2004, he skipped high Class A all together and went straight to Class AA Huntsville. He struggled occasionally last year, but that was to be expected. He completed 2004 by hitting .382 w/6 home runs in 76 at-bats in the Arizona Fall League, considered to be a finishing program to help polish off top prospects primed for the major leagues.

Despite his periodic struggles at the plate in Huntsville, Rickie continued to display the skills that made him a #2 overall selection. He has a compact swing, and his bat gets through the hitting zone as fast as anyone, giving him surprising power for his size. He's able to turn on an inside fastball, while his quick hands also allow him to cover the outer portion of the plate. He also has above average speed to go with his power. Weeks has good patience at the plate, though he must continue to work on his strike-zone discipline. As a sign of his mental toughness, he played much of the season with a hamstring strain, refusing to come out of the lineup. Weeks worked hard to improve his defense, which was considered a weakness in college. The Brewers love his drive and determination. He determinedly stands on top of the plate, which is why he ranked third in the minors by getting hit w/28 pitches in 2004. His combination of athleticism and work ethic makes Rickie a special player.

He faced mostly weak competition at Southern U., and given his lack of pro experience, he often was fooled by breaking pitches in AA Huntsville. He sometimes gets impatient and swings at pitcher's pitches, but improved in that regard over the course of his first full season. Despite his plus speed, he still has a lot to learn on the basepaths after getting caught 12 times in 23 steal attempts last year. For all his effort, he still has a lot of work to do with his glove. He led Southern League second basemen with 17 errors. He sometimes makes fundamental mistakes in the field and throws w/o getting his feet under him.


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