Jemile Weeks, the Oakland Athletics former second baseman of the future, might just be the club’s most valuable trade piece in 2013.
The No. 12 overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft has been patrolling center field as of late, and has been tearing up the Pacific Coast League. In his last ten games, Weeks is batting .390 with a .490 OBP, 8 walks and 14 runs. He’s now hitting .280 on the season.
Oddly, he has just two steals during this run. His little hot streak just so happens to coincide with the Athletics decision to promote fellow former first-round pick Grant Green over the dread-locked switch-hitter among others.
So I decided to reach out to Mark McDermott, who covers the club’s Triple-A affiliate as a correspondent for the Sacramento Bee.
McDermott explained that the 26-year-old has been trying to find a home defensively in 2013.
“Weeks was average at second but entrenched as the backup behind Green. His move to shortstop was short-lived. He doesn’t have the arm to play there.”
Weeks has spent a lot of time this season at the DH spot as well. It seems a major waste, however, to have the fastest guy on the team not contributing defensively. That seems to be the reasoning behind Weeks making his way to the outfield.
“Now, he’s a center fielder. Because of his speed, he can go get a fly ball.” McDermott told me.
“However, he’s taken bad angles on balls in the gap and has looked bad on balls directly over his head.”
As McDermott explained:
“He’s not a center fielder either.”
I asked McDermott about Weeks’ approach at the plate, as he’s currently second in the PCL with 59 walks. That’s bettered only by Daric Barton, who interestingly enough played a game at third base on Friday night.
The figure is also already higher than the 55 BB’s Weeks tallied last season between Oakland and the Sacramento River Cats combined.
“At the plate, he has shown patience and fits the bill for the Athletics’ style of play in that regard.”
However McDermott pointed out:
“He hits the ball way too much in the air. Until he’s willing to hit the ball on the ground and use his speed, he’s destined for the minor leagues for years to come.”
It’s a critique I’ve heard many times before. To be fair, Weeks does have seven triples on the season, and he’s the owner of a rock-solid .395 OBP. So, whether or not he’s hitting the ball in the air too much, he’s still doing a great job of getting on base.
Weeks has managed just 13 steals, but he’s done an excellent job of scoring runs. He’s currently second in the league with 72.
“It seems apparent to me that the Athletics are trying him at different positions in an attempt to find suitors for a trade.”
The Athletics certainly don’t have to make a trade, as the unusually deep team already sits atop the AL West standings. However, if GM Billy Beane comes across a deal he just can’t resist, Weeks might be his most valuable chip.
Weeks gets on base, runs, scores runs, and might even offer a bit of defensive versatility. He has the skills to play in the big leagues and based on Beane’s habit of making deals, it could be interesting to see where the flyer pops up next.