Athletics' Weeks shines in Arizona

PHOENIX — I had the opportunity to talk with both Buster Posey and Jemile Weeks — hot properties for the Giants and the Athletics, respectively — when the AFL Scottsdale Scorpions and the Phoenix Desert Dogs met for the fifth time in Phoenix earlier this month.

Both players have similar baseball backgrounds. Both played college ball in Florida — Posey for Florida State and Weeks for the University of Miami. Both played in the 2008 College World Series where Weeks’ Hurricanes eliminated Posey’s Seminoles before going on to lose to the Stanford Cardinal.

Both were drafted and signed at the end of their junior years in the first round of the June 2008 Draft — Posey was the fifth pick overall, Weeks the 12th.

Both had their first full minor league seasons this year (2009). Weeks appeared in 50 games for Single-A Stockton in the California League and 30 games with Double-A Midland in the Texas League. Posey played in 80 games for Single-A San Jose in the California League and 35 games for Triple-A Fresno in the Pacific Coast League.

Finally, both were selected by their organizations to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. Both are looking forward to returning to the Valley of the Sun in February for spring training.

I sat down with Jemile Weeks a few minutes before the 24th game of the AFL’s 32-game schedule. He had the afternoon off but assured me that he really wasn’t hurt.

“It’s just a hammy thing that has been nagging me a little bit.”

I assumed that was baseball jargon for a hamstring problem.

Actually, Weeks had been on a 10-game hitting streak that ended the day before we talked. During that time he collected 15 hits in 41 trips to the plate for a sizzling .366 batting average. Included in his 15 hits were four doubles and three triples. He knocked in six runs, scored 12 and stole three bases.

I asked what it was like to play in the Fall League after his year at the Single-A and Double-A levels.

“I know I’m playing with the best of the best,” he answered. “These are guys who are going to be major leaguers. You’re getting a taste of the top talent in minor league baseball.

“Since I’ve been playing in college and professionally, this is the best talent I’ve seen. These guys are more consistent with their actions. Like with groundballs and balls to the outfield, there are not as many mistakes as you would see at other levels.”

At the time I talked with them, both players had appeared in 15 AFL games. Weeks had 18 hits in 64 plate appearances, Posey 13 in 58. Weeks’ speed helped him to six doubles and three triples. Posey’s power got him a couple of home runs.

Both Weeks and Posey are typical of a phenomena in baseball today in which players have spectacular college careers only to find themselves having to hustle for a chance to play in an environment where everyone plays at the level that brought them national recognition.

Certainly, outstanding college players frequently become outstanding professionals, but, not always. For Posey and Weeks, who both turned 22 this year, it’s all out there in front of them. They have a great deal they could look back on, but, that’s not the direction in which they are focused.

Bookmark and Share