Rebirth? Michael Choice And Jemile Weeks
The Athletics are making a push. Behind a young staff, they’ve added Luke Gregerson and Jim Johnson to solidify the bullpen. Then, they added fourth outfielder extraordinaire Craig Gentry to fill a need. But this isn’t about Oakland. It’s about a couple of players they gave up in the process.
Jemile Weeks is two years removed from a .304/.340/.421 rookie campaign with 21 stolen bases. Weeks was anointed the Athletics second baseman of the future and proceeded to fall flat on his face. In 2014, he’ll enter his age-27 season as a bridge to prospect Jonathan Schoop after being dealt to the Baltimore Orioles. Regardless, it’s an opportunity to revitalize the career of a former first round pick turned bust.
After being drafted tenth overall in the 2010 draft, Michael Choice dominated the California League the following season. 30-home runs were nice, but it was in a league where college draft picks dominate. Double-A would be a real test for Choice and the power hitting corner outfielder stumbled out of the gate. In the midst of an offensive surge, Choice’s season was cut short due to injury. 2013 saw an uptick in power production for Choice, but 14-home runs fell well below what was expected of a prospect known for his power.
Now a member of the Texas Rangers — a team with a gaping hole in left field — it appears Choice will enter his age-24 season as the starter.
On the surface, both are obvious buy low candidates due to opportunity alone. But are they worth chasing now that their perceived value is on the upswing?
Before I get into it, check out this image from the Ottoneu Experts League. Remember when I wrote about not cutting guys in the off-season…
This morning, MLB.com’s Orioles depth chart has Jemile Weeks as a third string option behind Ryan Flaherty and the aforementioned Schoop. Not……buying……it! Entering his age-22 season, Schoop had a .697 OPS in Triple-A and followed it up with a poor AFL showing. He’ll be a good Major League player, but needs more seasoning after being rushed through the system.
As for Ryan Flaherty, why waste the words?
For my money, the second base job is Weeks’ to lose. As it stands, he’ll bat lead off or ninth depending on where they slot Markakis. With Brian Roberts bringing up the rear of the O’s lineup more than any other player in 2013, ninth is the natural fit.
The problem with Weeks is he was miscast as a top flight athlete after a strong debut. To date, he has 38 career steals and has been caught 16 times for a success rate a tad above 70%. Admittedly, his percentage in 2012 was much higher than his rookie season, but he also stole six less bases in 21 more games. Knowing this, I’m not comfortable projecting him for more than 20-25 stolen bases in a season’s worth of plate appearances.
With four career home runs in 957 plate appearances, Weeks really needs to be amongst the Major League leaders in stolen bases for him to have real value. Ultimately, I’d be okay with Weeks as a bench option, but not more. The bump in value he’ll receive post trade probably isn’t worth the investment.
As for Michael Choice, he was a buy low candidate heading into the off-season due to lack of opportunity. His star had already faded somewhat, which I wrote about last season in a newsletter piece when I urged readers to acquire the outfielder. A move to Texas and a starting job in hand is almost too good to be true. Not only did the buy low window close, it slammed shut. His value is back to pre-2012 levels in my mind and will cost too much to acquire.
An owner of Choice would be smart to shop the outfielder. When guys like Nate Schierholtz (21 HR) and Michael Saunders (12 HR, 13 SB) are waiver wire fodder, you’ll be able to replace the bat on the cheap. Much of Choice’s current value is tied to his years of control in dynasty leagues and opportunity.
4 Feb 2014 / Mike Newman /
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