He's no Ian Kinsler, Ichiro, or Michael Bourn. Rickie Weeks just well may be the worst leadoff hitter in Major League Baseball. A powerful second baseman, Weeks' swing has too many holes and is more suited to bat in the five-hole.
Unlike a typical leadoff hitter, Weeks hits for power rather than average. He owns a career .254 batting average with 111 home runs. A season ago, Weeks hit .269 with 20 home runs in 118 games for the N.L. Central Champion Brewers. He also struck out 107 times. No other leadoff hitter struck out more. That's a little less than one strikeout per game. Not really what teams want from their leadoff man.
A prototypical leadoff man has great speed and usually steals a lot of bases. Weeks stole only nine bases last year and has only surpassed 20 steals once in his career.
This most likely isn't the second baseman's fault, however. The Milwaukee Brewers rarely steal. They rely more on the long ball to score. Still, if Weeks hit for a better average, I'm sure manager Ron Roenicke would put him in motion more often.
Although his on-base percentage ranked 29th in the league a year ago, Weeks rarely walks. He was allowed a free base only 50 times in 2011. While 50 walks might be solid for anywhere else in the lineup, it is simply not good enough for the leadoff position.
The Brewers have no true leadoff hitter. Many say that Nyjer Morgan or Carlos Gomez should be inserted in the top spot, but they strike out just as much, and their on-base percentages are even worse than Weeks.
Corey Hart is the only viable option. Hart hits for average as well as power. Hart hit .285 with 26 home runs last season. Although Hart strikes out as much as Weeks, Hart takes more pitches and reaches base more often.
Milwaukee tried to obtain Jimmy Rollins in the offseason, to maybe fill the leadoff spot. However, Rollins opted to stay in Philadelphia. The Brewers should have made a bigger effort to sign Jose Reyes. The N.L. batting champion in 2011 would finally bring a true number one hitter to Milwaukee.
The Brewers will stick with Weeks leading off and I don't envision the Brewers making a change to their lineup anytime soon. But Weeks would be more productive in the five-hole behind Aramis Ramirez.
Rickie Weeks is a very talented young player; he's just not a leadoff hitter.