If you're like me, you received news of the 2011 Home Run Derby roster with near total indifference. And if you're like me, you finally got around to reading the lineup after being stubborn for two or three hours, and then you saw the name Rickie Weeks and thought "well what in the hell?"
But if you're like me, you didn't realize that Rickie Weeks is a little different from how you remember him. Between 2003-2009, Weeks homered 60 times, or roughly once for every 35 trips he took to the plate. Since the start of last season, though, he's homered 46 times, or roughly once for every 25 trips he's taken to the plate. Rickie Weeks has blossomed into a powerful young man.
Which isn't to say that he necessarily belongs in this contest. Over the course of the past calendar year, Weeks ranks 17th in home runs, behind non-invites like Mike Stanton and Jay Bruce. He's been neither especially prolific with his home run count, nor especially spectacular with his home run displays. He hasn't matched Stanton's total, and he hasn't matched, I dunno, Wily Mo Pena's raw strength.
But to analyze Weeks' inclusion is to suggest that this matters and is in any way predictable, which it is not. You see:
(1) The Home Run Derby does not matter
(2) The Home Run Derby is not predictable
We know that it doesn't matter. I don't think there's any level on which we think it does matter. A lot of us will watch, but by "watch" I mean "turn it on and then stop paying attention after 20 minutes," and by the final round those who are still following along are just pleading for closure. It's pointless and awful. It's pointless and awful entertainment.
And as for the predictability aspect, recall that Bobby Abreu once won a home run derby. Recall that Miguel Tejada once won a home run derby. Recall that Garret Anderson once won a home run derby. There are certain players who have shown themselves to be slightly better home run hitters than certain other players, but that doesn't really apply to the derby format, in which guys are hucking batting practice from seven feet away and rounds can last as few as ten pitches. There is absolutely no telling how any given derby will end up.
So, hey, Rickie Weeks is in, and he could win it. He has approximately as good a chance as anybody else in this thing. Godspeed, Rickie Weeks.