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Meet Ben Revere
by Scott Butler 1/17/13

Ben Revere is coming! Ben Revere is coming! There it was. My very first Ben Revere/Paul Revere joke. Ahhh, and to think we get to listen to awful jokes just like that one for at least the next nine months. Come to think of it, we should hope the bad jokes stick around even longer considering the Phillies gave up two young pitchers in order to obtain him.

Now that the Phils have their centerfielder for the future, I wanted to dig deep into the stats to see what exactly Revere brings to the Phillies lineup.

First, here's a little background on your new centerfielder. 24-year-old Ben Revere was born in Atlanta and drafted out of Lexington Catholic (KY) High School by the Minnesota Twins in the first round (28th pick) in the 2007 draft. He made his major league debut on Sep 7, 2010 as a pinch-hitter for Denard Span, who was ironically also dealt by the Twins this offseason to the Washington Nationals.

Revere began the 2011 season at AAA Rochester and was called up to the Twins in early May, where he remained for the rest of the season. In 2012, he spent most of the first two months at AAA until being called up for good on May 15th.

Now that our introductions are complete, here’s a quick scouting report and a look at Revere’s career stats.

Ben Revere's career stats

Season Team PA G AB R H TB 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
2010 Minnesota Twins 30 13 28 1 5 5 0 0 0 2 2 5 0 1 .179 .233 .179 .412
2011 Minnesota Twins 481 117 450 56 120 72 9 5 0 30 26 41 34 9 .267 .310 .309 .619
2012 Minnesota Twins 553 124 511 70 150 74 13 6 0 32 29 54 40 9 .294 .333 .342 .675
Career   1064 254 989 127 275 319 22 11 0 64 57 100 74 19 .278 .319 .323 .642

Scouting report for Ben Revere

Ben Revere bats from the left side with blazing speed and he hits for decent average, avoids strikeouts, does not walk, and has virtually no power.

Career Analysis

Speed:

Revere stole 74 bases in 254 games over the last two years. His rate of 47 steals per full season would have ranked him second in the majors in 2012. He also has a decent 82% stolen base rate which is the same as Shane Victorino and one point below Jimmy Rollins.

Strikeouts:

One aspect of his game in which Revere excels is his ability to avoid striking out. He averages 64 strikeouts per 162 games, which is well below the league average of 119.

Power:

Don’t expect Ben Revere to get married anytime soon because he loves, and I mean loves singles. A staggering 88% of his hits are one-baggers. That is an extremely low figure considering the league average is 66%. He is way below the career rates for Victorino (66%), Rollins (64%), and even Juan Pierre (83%).

If Revere is in love with singles, he tolerates doubles and despises home runs. Only 2% of his career hits are doubles (22 in 989 at-bats), a figure 18 points behind the 20% league average. That, along with a giant goose egg in home runs gives him an extra-base hit rate of 12% compared to the MLB average of 34%. Ben’s .323 slugging percentage and .642 OPS are both 82 points below average.

Patience

Another area in which he is lacking is his ability to draw walks. His 5.4% walk rate (36 walks per 162 game season) is way below the MLB average (8.0% and 57 walks). It is the main reason why his on-base percentage equals the MLB average, which is especially problematic for a player whose skill set revolves around reaching base and scoring runs. Now that we have an overall picture of Ben Revere, let's dive deeper into what he did last season.

Evaluating Ben Revere in 2012

Batted Ball

Two attributes Revere shares with all good leadoff hitters is his ability to make contact and keep the ball on the ground. Revere's 92.6% contact percentage towers above the league average of 79.7% and he ranked 3rd in the AL with 9.5 at-bats per strikeout. His 66.9% ground ball rate is much higher than the 45.1% MLB average (somewhere Willie Mays Hayes is smiling).

But the sign of a true legitimate hitter is line drives, since they fall in for hits at a far greater rate than ground balls and fly balls and indicate better contact. Revere's line drive rate (18.6%) falls slightly below the league average (20.1%) and is something he should look to improve in 2013.

Most hitting coaches will instruct hitters to strive to hit the ball up the middle, and Revere does that exceptionally well. 67.9% of his hits were up the middle versus 55% league wide. His pull percentage (16.5%) is less than the league average (27.5%), but his opposite field percentage (15.6%) is right around average (17.5%). You might expect with his lack of power that he would constantly be late on pitches like Juan Pierre (who many people, including myself, compare him to), but it is nice to see that his pull and opposite field percentages are similar.

And let's not forget his ability to drop a bunt. Revere was tied for 3rd in baseball with 9 bunts and seventh in bunt hit percentage (.563).

Splits during the at-bat

Another way to get an idea about a player is watching how he responds in different counts during the at-bat. The below chart shows how Revere's batting average fares in different counts compared to the league average.

  0-2 1-2 2-1 3-1 3-0 Ahead Behind 2 Strikes
Revere .195 .217 .326 .400 .000 .368 (0-4) .247 .238
MLB .149 .163 .336 .354 .348 .300 .204 .178

These are splits you like to see from your leadoff hitter. First, you can see that Revere held his own when he was behind in the count or buried in an 0-2 or 1-2 hole. It shows that he sees the ball well and is generally able to make good contact to fight off the nastier pitches. And like any quality hitter, he makes pitchers pay with a .368 average when he is ahead in the count.

It is also important to note that after a 3-1 count he walked only 35% of the time vs. 42% league wide. After a 3-0 count he walked 39% of the time compared to 64% for the league. If Revere is going to be a worthwhile addition to the Phillies, he must improve on those figures.

More splits

Revere actually hit better against lefties (.314) than he did against right-handers (.284).

He hit .317 through July, but only .265 in August and September.

He had a .293 batting average with the bases empty, .295 with men on base, .257 with runners in scoring position, and .288 with two outs and RISP. 

Looking ahead to 2013

Ben Revere has many of the tools to be a great player in this league for a long time. He makes contact, keeps the ball on the ground, rarely strikes out, knows how to bunt, spreads the ball around, and steals bases. He also steadily improved in almost all key hitting areas.

But Ben Revere is by no means a refined player. He must improve his ability to take pitches, work counts, and draw walks. A .333 on-base percentage simply does not cut it. He also needs to try to drive the ball more. Turning a few of his singles into doubles would pay huge dividends.

Other than that, what he needs is more experience.

As much as I would love to see him utilize his speed as a leadoff hitter and remove Rollins from the top spot, at this point in his young career he might be better off batting second. He batted just .259 as a leadoff hitter last season but hit .305 batting second. Considering that this would be his first full season and he was just traded for the first time in his big league career, Charlie might be well advised to ease him into batting leadoff.

If you are willing to accept his inadequacies and a few growing pains, Ben Revere could be a lot of fun to watch as he learns and grows into the leadoff hitter we know he can be.

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