With Ryan Braun out with neck spasms, and Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart both out longer, the Brewers have been forced to let Rickie Weeks bat third and fourth in their lineup. As of today, they have moved Weeks back to second, but as Roenicke tries different looks it wouldn’t be surprising to see Weeks in the middle of the order again this year. Here’s why that’s always a bad idea: For whatever reason, Rickie Weeks is a much better hitter with nobody on base.

Some simple numbers for you:

I Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB ROE BAbip tOPS+
RISP 608 926 762 177 34 10 24 241 17 4 121 202 .232 .347 .398 .745 303 15 22 4 17 13 9 .277 92
905 2542 2204 585 115 18 84 84 0 0 271 595 .265 .363 .448 .811 988 0 67 0 0 0 35 .329 108
Men On 783 1506 1279 290 50 12 47 294 117 25 159 337 .227 .328 .395 .723 505 50 42 9 17 13 18 .266 86
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/9/2013.

Those are Weeks’ career stats with Runners in Scoring Position, Bases Empty (shown as “- – -” in the table) and Men On Base. His batting average drops 32 points with runners in scoring position, and 37 points with runners on base altogether. Why does that mean he should never bat in the middle of the order? The easiest way to explain it would be to ask why the Brewers put guys like Braun and Ramirez there when the team is at full health. Because they’re supposed to drive in runs.

Over his career, Rickie Weeks’ best spot has always been leadoff. The “problem” the Brewers have now is that Norichika Aoki is a much more prototypical leadoff hitter than Weeks. However, it might make sense for Roenicke to consider moving Aoki down a spot in the long run and returning Weeks to his more comfortable leadoff spot.

So what to do while Hart (who was placed on the 60-day DL and is out until at least June) and Ramirez take time to recover in what has become the Brewers most nightmarish injury-filled start to a season yet? Here’s the lineup I would propose:

Weeks 2B
Segura SS
Aoki RF
Braun LF
Lucroy C
Gomez CF
Gonzalez 3B
Betancourt 1B

Why? Simple, Aoki has demonstrated that he has the ability to consistently drive in runs (career batting average of .295 with RISP and .309 with runners on). Despite the big to-do about Braun’s struggles when batting behind Fielder (.228 career average in 249 career PA batting fourth), if given time to adjust he will hit anywhere in the order. Because he’s Ryan Braun.