Is there anything wrong with Jemile Weeks?

Don't fret, Jemile!

A popular subject these days seems to be "what’s going on with Jemile?" A’s fans have, unfortunately, been subjected to some lazy-looking flyballs on his part. But, how does this compare to his performance last year?

Despite only having played 33 games so far, there are some still SSS data that might clue us in to how he’s been hitting the ball in 2012. Let’s refer to Fangraphs Batted Ball data:

LD%

GB%

FB%

IFFB%

23.3/21.8

39.8/42.3

36.9/35.9

6.3/10.7

Where LD%, GB%, and FB% refers to percentages of line drives, ground balls, and flyballs, respectively, and the format is 2011 data/2012 data. IFFB% is percent of fly balls that are in the infield.

Indeed, as shown, the data are not all that different between this year and last. A few line drives have become groundballs, but other than that, Jemile’s batted ball profile profile is very similar. He has hit a seemingly high percentage of his flyballs for popups, but keep in mind: last year, he had 8 balls classified as IFFBs and this year 3 so far. It’s just not something that’s a significant contributor to his performance, despite the fact that these are the worst kind of batted balls.

But, it might be said, why is he OPSing only .571? Why is his wRC+ only 60 this year when last year it was 110? Well, a glance at his BABIP tells some of the story: last year it was .350; so far, this year, it is .197. With his MiLB + MLB BABIP being well over .300, this suggests that Weeks has had some pretty bad luck overall right now. Another reason for the lower BABIP? With 2/17 of his hits leaving the yard, that means those hits aren’t counted as being in play, and therefore keeping his BABIP artificially low. Thought another way: if those HRs were instead doubles or triples high off the wall, his BABIP would be higher since those balls would be in play. So, that .197 BABIP is due to regress up towards his career mean, and likely allow some of those groundballs and line drives to find holes where they are not currently.

Indeed, his plate discipline data (via Pitch f/x data) also bears some of this out:

O-Swing%

Z-Swing%

Contact%

26.9/22.0

55.7/57.1

88.3/88.2

where O-Swing% is the percentage of pitches outside of the zone he swung at, Z-Swing % is the same as O-Swing% except for pitches IN the zone, and Contract% is the percentage of swings where he makes contact again in a 2011/2012 format. So, Weeks is actually being a little more selective at the plate (his BB% is actually improved over last year) while maintaining identical contact rates.

Conclusion: in all likelihood, Weeks will be just fine offensively. Just give it time.

Join me at around 3PM for an early game thread!

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