Jemile Weeks makes the move to CF, hopes to make move to Oakland

Jemile Weeks has been all over the place. After being drafted by the Oakland A’s in the first round (12th overall) of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, he spent the remainder of that season at Oakland’s class-A affiliate. In 2009, he spent half of the season with the single-A team, the Stockton Ports, and the other half with the double-A Midland RockHounds. 2010 found him with the Arizona rookie league before returning to Midland and, after beginning 2011 with the triple-A Sacramento River Cats, Weeks found himself playing 97 games in Oakland, establishing a fan base that even now, two years later, is going strong. While in the big leagues, he hit .303, stole 22 bases, and was named the American League Rookie of the Month for June.

In 2012, Weeks spent almost the entire season of the major league roster, but struggled, hitting just .221 with 15 doubles, 20 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases. And he’s spent the entire 2013 season in Sacramento, so far. He’s played second base, been the designated hitter, and, in the last week, moved into center field – a move that he’s embraced.

“I haven’t been playing much in the field, regularly, so this gives me another opportunity to be out there in the field. It’s a new battle, so it’s something for me to chase after, to get better at, and I enjoy the challenge.”

Even though he’s been DHing for the River Cats, Weeks prefers fielding and is anxious to contribute defensively to the team. And despite a slow start, he’s starting to find his rhythm at the plate and make an offensive impact as well. He hit .317 in April, dipped down to .214 in May, but has climbed back up to .267 on the season. Weeks knows that he has to constantly work to get better, and he’s up to the task.

“Dealing with my hand positioning – going from Spring Training to the minor league season, I’ve had to tweak a few things. I’m just playing with a few things, trying to find that perfect comfort level that I want to be in. I’m not all the way there yet, but I’m working myself to get to that point.”

But he’s not just focused on improving in the batter’s box – Weeks recognizes that to make it to the big leagues, he’s got to be exceptional on both sides of the plate.

“I chased after being better defensively this season. I feel like I’ve done that, I’ve gotten better. Now it’s another challenge of getting into a new position, and on top of that still stealing bases, still being ready to hit, staying consistent there. So, I want to improve on my all around game.”

Despite hitting .370 in 11 Spring Training games this year, Weeks was sent to triple-A in Sacramento rather than begin the season on the 25-man major league roster. It’s no secret that his relationship with Oakland’s management has been a bit strained in the past, but he’s hoping to show that he’s willing to contribute to the team in whatever way they might need. When asked whether or not he’s heard from the coaches on a timeline for him to move up, Weeks’ answer is short and to the point:

“I don’t know my plans yet, but I know I’m trying. Whatever they want me to do, I’m trying it, and hopefully that helps in the long run.”

Weeks says that he learned a lot in his time in the majors, about being an everyday big-league ball player. And even though he has yet to spend a full season in Oakland, Weeks made a big impact on the fans, quickly becoming a favorite player. Knowing there are countless Weeks jerseys in the stands, countless fans pulling for him to make his return to the big leagues, means a lot to the 26-year-old.

“Going through what I’ve gone through I think that everybody seems to think that there’s a lot for you to do to be a big-league player, but to know you still have the love and the hearts of the fans, it’s kind of uplifting for a player.”

Here’s to hoping we’ll see you in an Athletics jersey soon, Jemile.

Bookmark and Share
blog comments powered by Disqus