Why Milwaukee Brewers’ Rickie Weeks Will Improve in 2013

Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks got off to a terribly slow start in 2012, which surprised many people considering how well he played in 2011. However, Weeks ended the season on a high note and appears ready to bounce back in 2013.

Weeks was named the starting second baseman for the 2011 National League All-Star team. It was rightfully deserved as he was in the middle of one of the best statistical seasons of his career. Unfortunately, a freak ankle injury forced Weeks to miss a big chunk of the second half of the season. He batted .269 with 20 home runs, 49 runs batted in, and nine stolen bases in 118 games in 2011.

Even with the injury that forced him to miss 44 games, he was still able to put up decent numbers. This is why everyone inside and outside of the Brewers organization thought Milwaukee was going to be a contender even without Prince Fielder. Unfortunately, Weeks got off to a historically bad start in which he batted .199 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs at the midway point of the 2012 season.

However, Weeks picked up his game in the second half, as he batted .261 with 13 homers and 34 RBIs. In fact, he hit a team-high seven home runs over the final month of the season, collecting 16 RBIs while stealing six bases. Weeks played a huge part in the Brewers’ success over the last six weeks of the season in which the team made a legitimate run at the second NL Wild Card spot.

The fact Weeks was able to rebound mid-season and get back on track was remarkable. Not many players can go through what he did, and still be a contributor in the middle of a playoff race. Weeks took heat from the fans and was consistently dropped in the batting order; many people even thought that he should have been sent down to the minors to fix his problems at the plate, but that his big contract prevented the team from doing so.

The funny thing is people only noticed how poorly Weeks was playing because of the high expectations everyone had for him. In fact, his numbers this season were consistent with his statistics over the last few years, with a few exceptions. Obviously, if Weeks would have played a full season last year, there would be a different story.

I firmly believe the way Weeks finished this year is a good indication of the player that the fans will see next season. He understands he is a big part of the Brewers offense, and needs to play at a high level in order for the team to clinch a postseason berth.

If healthy, I fully expect Weeks to bat .275 with 25 home runs and at least 80 RBIs in 2013. I have come to this conclusion because Weeks is going to do everything in his power to get better this off-season. He is the last person in the world that wants to see a repeat of 2012, and will do whatever it takes to prevent another down season.

Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.

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