The first Brewers position player has reached 5.0 wins above replacement, according to Fangraphs. That’s a significant number, as a player who consistently posts those types of seasons is basically a perennial all-star. The stable of talent that reached this mark in 2009 is quite impressive:
This is a group of players that either had incredible breakout seasons or are superstars, and all of them are supremely talented. Some (Bay, Kemp, Sandoval) have tailed off this season, but others (Cabrera, Zimmerman, Longoria) are joining players like Hanley Ramirez, Chase Utley and Albert Pujols as the best players in baseball.
Prince Fielder is third on that list from 2009, and one might expect that, as the team’s superstar, he would be the first to eclipse 5.0 WAR this season. He’s currently sitting at 3.9 WAR and would need to have an utterly monster September to even reach that mark for the full season. Ryan Braun would probably be next, as he has reached superstar status in Wisconsin and is under contract for the next five seasons. Instead, he sit at 2.7 WAR in a season in which his power has largely deserted him.
No, it’s Rickie Weeks who sits at 5.0 WAR with just under a month of games left to play. Weeks has hit .270/.364/.473 and has shown average defense at 2B according to UZR (not that I necessarily buy that, but let’s not rain on the parade – he’s still fantastic even if he’s a -5 or even a -10 run defender this year). Rickie Weeks has shown legitimate superstar potential this year, and that’s just because he’s been able to stay healthy. His .369 wOBA is only 4 points above his injury shortened 2009 and 2007 marks. Now that Weeks has a 600+ PA season under his belt in which he showcased his true talent the entire way, the league has seen that he’s a fantastic hitter and one of the best players in the league.
He hasn’t gotten anywhere near the credit he deserves for this season, either. When people talk about Carlos Gonzalez (5.0 WAR), don’t forget to talk up Rickie Weeks. When people talk up Scott Rolen (4.4), Hanley Ramirez (4.1), Dan Uggla (4.1), or Brandon Phillips (3.9), remind them of how great Rickie Weeks is. For some reason, this fantastic season by Weeks is flying somewhat under the radar. That shouldn’t happen, as Weeks has been a legitimate top-20 position player this season. I celebrate Rickie Weeks. You should too.