Two weeks ago today, 2008 first round pick Jemile Weeks was called up to the majors for the first time. Since then? He's batted .364/.378/.591 in 46 plate appearances, which is better than any A's fan's wildest dreams. And he's not the only young bat to provide an infusion of hitting into this anemic lineup, as recent trade acquisition Scott Sizemore is hitting even better, with a stunning .387/.472/.548 line in 37 plate appearances. Obviously, those batting averages aren't going to hold up, but can we draw any rough half-conclusions from their play so far?
The first thing to notice is Scott Sizemore's fantastic walk rate. At 13.5%, it ranks second on the team behind Daric Barton's 14%, and if he qualified, Sizemore would rank 18th out of 163 batters in the majors this year. Sizemore has had nice OBPs in the minors, so this isn't entirely unprecedented. The high walk rate is fueled by an obscenely low swing rate at pitches outside of the zone, which is also near Barton-esque. The batting average will fall, but expect Sizemore to still take his walks and get on base at a fairly nice clip.
Jemile Weeks, on the other hand, illustrates the problem with small sample sizes. His walk rate is scarily low (think AJ Pierzynski low), and yet, he's swinging at pitches outside of the zone at a rate that is significantly better than average. And since out-of-the-zone swing rate is very strongly correlated with walk rate, expect Weeks to start taking more walks very soon.
Between the two of them, Mark Ellis and Kevin Kouzmanoff have cost the A's an astounding 16 runs this season with their bats. Their replacements, in a fifth of the time, have already almost cut that deficit in half. What else have you noticed about Jemile Weeks and Scott Sizemore?
The A's are in New York to take on not the Yankees, but the Mets. First pitch is at 4:10 Pacific.