Fun fact: Weeks' first career hit was a double off of our very own Zach Britton at Camden Yards. It went over Nolan Reimold's head in left field. Maybe it was fate for him to come to Baltimore. Let's hope.
Name: Jemile Nykiwa Weeks Number: 1
Born: January 26, 1987 (27 years old) in Orlando, FL
Height: 5'9" Weight: 165 lbs
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
Drafted: 1st round (12th pick), 2008 by the Oakland Athletics
School: Lake Brantley High School (Altamonte Springs, FL)
University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL)
Contract: $515,000 for 2014 (Pre-arbitration, cannot become a free agent until 2019)
Became an Oriole: Traded by Oakland along with David Freitas to Baltimore in exchange for pitcher Jim Johnson
As many of you probably know, Jemile is the younger brother of Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks. The two are four years apart. He also has an older sister who ran track at Southern University. Jemile and Rickie both nearly played for the Brewers when the younger Weeks was drafted by Milwaukee in the eighth round of the draft out of high school. He declined and chose instead to play baseball for the Miami Hurricanes.
While in college he played for the United States in the World University Baseball Championships. Yes, it is a thing. He helped the US team beat Chinese Taipei to take home the gold. In addition to that he was a standout at Miami. Baseball America named him a preseason All-American in 2008 and Oakland drafted him that season in the first round.
Weeks has had a roller coaster ride of a professional career. He made it from college to the big leagues in a little over two seasons, playing 97 games with the Athletics in 2011. That year made Weeks look like an All-Star in the making. He hit .303 in those 97 games, had 26 doubles and showed off his wheels with 22 steals.
This caused Oakland to view him as a cornerstone of the franchise. That offseason they traded away the likes of Tevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez, but Weeks was dubbed "untouchable". He came into the 2012 season as the starting second baseman and struggled.
His average dove to .221 in 118 games that season. Likely a result of him bouncing back to reality with his average on balls in play (BABIP). In 2011 he had a ridiculous BABIP of .350, in 2012 it was .256. His limited power even took a severe hit. He stopped hitting doubles; down to just 15 in 2012. The A's took action and set him back to the farm.
He managed to bounce back to Oakland a time or two but had become an afterthought, the Athletics were moving on from their former first round pick.
And that brings us to the 2013 offseason. Billy Beane was looking to solidify his bullpen and, for once, would be able to spend some money doing it. A deal was struck with Baltimore that would land Jim Johnson in the bay area. It was mostly thought of as a salary dump on the O's part. But they did get Jemile Weeks and it seems that he will get some playing time in Baltimore, at least for a short period of time.
It was once thought that Weeks carried some good pop in his little frame. Scouts projected him as a 10 home run guy that would carry a batting avererage around .280. He has fallen short on both accounts thus far. He only has four home runs over 867 at-bats and has a career .260 batting average.
In terms of walking and striking out, he does both slightly below average. So, glass half full. His career walk rate is only 7.3 percent while he strikes out at a clip of 14.2 percent.
A tool that Weeks surely has is speed. In his limited time with Oakland he managed to swipe 38 bases. However, he was also thrown out 16 times. That means he is successful about two-thirds of the time; not great. But he is one of those players that can hustle a single into a double or possibly a double into a triple. Something that the Orioles sorely lack outside of David Lough.
The weakest part of Weeks' game may be his defense. He has primarily been a second baseman but has also seen time in centerfield. Fangraphs uses Ultimate Zone per 150 games to determine a players worth in the field over an entire season. In this system zero is always average. Using this, Weeks has been given a career -9.1 UZR/150. That is well below average and shows that he has poor range and his arm is regarded as well below average.
Now may have been the best time for Weeks to join the Orioles. He gets a chance to show manager Buck Showalter what he can do right before Manny Machado returns to the club. Once Machado is back, decisions will have to be made.
One of Weeks, Jonathan Schoop, Ryan Flaherty and Steve Lombardozzi will be packing their bags for Norfolk. In my eyes, Lombardozzi is staying put. He is a gamer and has done an admirable job. Flaherty has become the utility man who can play all four infield positions. Without him, the Orioles don't have a real back-up at shortstop or first base. He stays. It's down to Weeks and Schoop.
Schoop has struggled in the field and with his patience at the plate. Though he has also shown what makes him such a highly regarded prospect with his power potential. Ultimately though, he may get squeezed for playing time. Buck would prefer to see Weeks on the bench day in and day out than top prospect Schoop.
Weeks still has options remaining and is under team control through 2019. His speed brings a needed element to the O's. If he can find that stroke again that enabled him to spray balls down the line for doubles he can become a productive part of the lineup. But if he doesn't and his defense continues to be poor then he will be nothing more than minor league fodder.
What role do you think Weeks will have on the Orioles in 2014 and beyond? Let me know down below along with who you want to "get to know" next week.