Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Jemile Weeks, 2B

Last June, the Oakland A's took Jemile Weeks with their first selection. Taken with the 12th overall pick, Weeks was the highest draft choice by the A's in nearly a decade. He got off to a good start with Low-A Kane County in 2008 before a hip injury sidelined him. Weeks is currently at extended spring training and is getting closer to starting his regular season. We caught-up with Weeks for a Q&A

Jemile Weeks was just hitting his stride last season when a hip injury ended his debut campaign prematurely. He had just come off of a 10-game hitting streak and was batting .297 with an 828 OPS in 19 games for the Low-A Kane County Cougars at the time of the injury. The injury – a torn hip flexor – has taken eight months to heal completely. Weeks, who was a non-roster invitee to the A's big league spring training camp this spring, is currently at the A's extended spring training camp, where he is playing in games daily and completing his rehab.

Weeks is no stranger to major league baseball. He is the younger brother of Milwaukee Brewers' second baseman Rickie Weeks. Like Rickie, Jemile is a second baseman with good speed and some power, although Jemile is generally regarded as being faster than Rickie, and Rickie is generally considered to have more power. In three years at the University of Miami, Jemile was the igniter at the top of a potent Hurricanes' offense. He had an OBP above .400 and he walked more than he struck-out. He also stole 42 bases, including 22 in 2008, and hit .363 with a 1093 OPS and 13 homeruns during his junior year. Jemile, a switch-hitter, carried that strong play over into his 19-game stint with the Low-A Kane County Cougars, where he had five extra-base hits, six stolen bases and a .422 OBP in 74 at-bats before the hip injury.

We recently caught-up with Weeks for a Q&A…

OaklandClubhouse: How is your hip feeling? Will you be heading out to a full-season affiliate pretty soon?

Jemile Weeks: It's what we have been working on since I got out here. It's feeling a lot better. It's feeling really good. I have been playing in all of the games out here. It should be pretty soon [that he heads out]. I'm not sure exactly what the timetable is that they have set out for me, but I have been playing in the games and whenever they feel like I have reached the level of play that they want me to, they'll ship me out of here pretty soon, I think.

OC: Do you know if you are going to be sent to Stockton or Kane County, or will you not know that until you are ready to go?

JW: I think I am slated to go to Stockton.

OC: You got to spend some time in big league camp this spring as a non-roster invitee. What was that experience like for you?

JW: It was a great experience, especially being a college guy and coming out of college with that dream of being drafted. It just helps you to understand what your goal is. It is very helpful just to spend time with those guys and watch their work ethic and see how they go about their business. I definitely took in a lot from the experience.

OC: How much advice have you gotten from your brother since he has gone through all of these stages of his career?

JW: I have taken any advice that he has given me. It's one of those things where I don't really have to pick his brain because I am around my brother a lot. In the off-season, we work out together and things like that. It's more like a daily process where we are around each other and certain things you pick up on rather than having to pick people's brains. I just pick up on things – how he carries himself and the way that he gets up and goes to the field and stuff like that. That is pretty much how I take in information from my brother for the most part.

OC: Was there anything that surprised you about your first stint in minor league baseball last season with Kane County?

JW: It was what I expected. I think there was some more consistent play out of the players [as opposed to college]. As far as the competition, I felt like I matched up well with the competition. It was more a matter of getting my feet wet and just understanding that I am ready to play at the level that I was at. It was really just a confidence builder.

OC: Obviously a lot of this spring was rehab for you, but is there anything that you have been working on in particular that you were hoping to bring into regular season games?

JW: Yeah, there were some things I wanted to work on. I wanted to work on stealing bases and I wanted to work on being more consistent on defense. For the most part, those are my top-two things that I wanted to work on. There were some side things I was working on, as well. There are always things that you can get better at.

OC: You played with a lot of top talent with the University of Miami last season and you set the table for some pretty impressive sluggers. Do you enjoy getting on-base in front of the RBI guys?

JW: Yeah, I really love that part of my game. Just the ability to try to get on-base as much as possible. It makes it a lot easier and a lot better for the big guys behind me for them to see me out there at second base or third base when they get up there.

OC: How much did playing on a big stage and playing in the College World Series help you when you made your debut last year?

JW: I think it helped out a lot. I was able to see some top-level pitching when I got to that Low-A level and I felt that I was able to adjust fairly quickly once I got out there just because of what I had seen at the University of Miami. It helped me feel a little more comfortable than maybe most people coming in who hadn't dealt with that type of competition coming out of college.

OC: Has it been frustrating to deal with the hip injury or do you feel like you have turned the corner on it and it isn't something that you are going to have to think about from here on out?

JW: At the time, it was probably one of the most frustrating things of my career. For me, I believe everything happens for a reason. It was just a little stumbling block and I'm getting over it. Now I am feeling good out there on the field and I am just ready to continue to pick up where I left off before.

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