It’s been an injury-plagued season for the Milwaukee Brewers, and that may be putting it lightly. The latest player to land on the disabled list is Rickie Weeks, who was placed on the 15-day DL today with a strained hamstring. The Brewers recalled Scooter Gennett after only being sent down to Triple-A Nashville for two days. He’ll presumably be the Brewers’ everyday second baseman until Weeks can regain his health.
And depending on Gennett’s performance, he could conceivably continue to see playing time after Weeks presumed return.
Weeks has been a polarizing figure on the Brewers’ roster this season. Many fans are frustrated with Weeks and believe he’s no longer a big-league ballplayer, repeatedly calling for his benching or release. On the other side, some fans have staunchly defended the 30-year-old veteran based on his past performance and would like to see the organization remain committed to him as a starter. As with most things in life, though, the best answer likely lies between the two extremes.
This article will not attempt to argue Weeks has enjoyed a productive season at second base. A slash line of .209/.306/.357 will not win any Silver Slugger awards — and is a fringe major-leaguer, at best — but one of the best-kept secrets around the league this year is offensive production at second base across the league has been dreadful all season. Check out the league-average wOBA for each position:
Aside from the black hole that has been the shortstop position, second basemen has been the worst offensive position in all of baseball. Even catcher, which is considered a defense-first position, vastly has outperformed second base. And it’s even gotten worse in the second-half. The league-average wOBA for second basemen in the second half is .287. To put that in perspective, that’s like saying the average second baseman has essentially been D.J. LeMahieu since the All-Star Break. Yuck.
Interesting point: Rickie Weeks has a .299 wOBA this season. That’s just below the league-average mark on the year.
Among 39 second basemen who have received at least 200 plate appearances this season, Weeks ranks 23rd and is tied with Jurickson Profar of the Rangers. He is far from the worst second baseman in the league. Teams like the Rockies, Orioles, Blue Jays and Cubs would likely prefer Weeks over their internal options. Not to mention Jeff Keppinger has somehow gotten 358 plate appearances with the White Sox to post his putrid .242 wOBA this season.
Yes, Rickie Weeks has slogged through a down season, and the Milwaukee Brewers could use an upgrade at the position. There is no denying that point. And perhaps that upgrade could be Scooter Gennett, although excitement should probably be tempered because his ultimate upside figures to be limited unless he can develop some patience or power.
Keep in mind, though, Rickie Weeks isn’t an anomaly amongst the league’s second basemen. Offensive production at the position has been dreadful, and the Brewers’ second baseman has simply been another example of a league-wide trend. That’s perhaps the worst silver lining imaginable; however, context is important and often overlooked when judging an individual player’s performance.