Futility runs in the family

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Weeks brothers, Rickie and Jemile, have accomplished something extraordinary this season, setting a record for family futility in the first half of the 2012 season.

Amazingly, one family has managed to produce two of the least valuable everyday second basemen in fantasy baseball. The two have combined for 608 at-bats, 128 hits and a .210 batting average. Rickie ranks 711th overall in Yahoo! leagues, while Jemile has been a bit worse, coming in at 809.

Call them the bizarro Peyton and Eli. Or the Blues Brothers, who bring sadness to all.

Both players were drafted in the top 13 among second basemen, ahead of fantasy stud Jason Kipnis, which compounds their uselessness.

If you have sunk your fantasy dollars into either of the Weak, er Weeks brothers, the only condolence I can offer you is this: those two sure can take a walk. Rickie and Jemile have combined for 83 walks, giving both players an OBP above .300 despite their low batting averages.

You've probably moved on from both players long ago, but for those of you who are holding onto the dream, you're likely wondering if there is any hope for a turnaround with either of these players. I will say this, if the 2011 version of Dan Uggla, batting .173 with a .568 OPS on July 4, could suddenly reel off a 33-game hitting streak, anything is possible.

If someone forced me to own either second basemen (and no one would do that because, after all, fantasy sports are supposed to be fun), I'd choose Rickie based on his past success. True, Jemile hit .303 in 97 games as a rookie last season, but Rickie came into this season with 109 home runs and 100 stolen bases in 760 career games and he hit .269 with 49 homers and an OPS over .800 over the last two seasons combined.

Rickie also has produced in July, hitting .345 with a 1.114 OPS in eight games. For him, that's major progress.

Jemile, meanwhile, is hitting .222 this month after putting up a .235/.339/.327 line last month and a .186/.263/.326 line in April.

In order for Rickie to keep this up, he needs to start making more contact with the baseball. Weeks has barely been able to put the baseball in play, striking out 29 percent of the time, which is nearly impossible for a big league regular. Even if he does have some better luck on balls in play in the second half, continuing to whiff 29 percent of the time will keep his average around the Mendoza Line.

In Jemile's favor, he does have a clearer path toward usefulness, as he would gain more value if he would start running more. After all, look at Dee Gordon. The Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop stole 30 bases in 38 attempts before being placed on the disabled list with a torn thumb ligament, making him ownable in most formats despite a .229 average and a .562 OPS.

Fantasy owners are that starved for speed. However, Jemile has just 12 steals in 17 attempts, which isn't enough to offset his below average production in nearly every other category.

I would advise you to stay away from both Weeks brothers, but the second base position is so shallow that both players wouldn't even need to make that dramatic of an improvement at the plate before they entered the top 15. For example, Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets is currently ranked 16th at the position despite having an incredibly mediocre .289 average, three homers and five steals, so neither brother should be pushed out of fantasy owners' consciousness.

I foresee Rickie trimming his strikeout percentage closer to his career average of 23.2 and hitting around .260 for the second half. If he can manage to do that, he should start knocking more balls out of the park. If he can hit nine homers and steal seven bases in the second half, that should put him in the top 12-15 at the position post-break.

As for Jemile, until he starts running more, not even extended members of the Weeks family will have a place for him on their fantasy rosters.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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