Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Revere's Audition

Before spring training got underway, I wrote about Ben Revere and the possibility that he could see extended time at the big-league level early on this season. At the time, Justin Morneau's status was very much in doubt, and I suggested that if the team had to play without their first baseman, Revere could be brought up to help take the load off outfielders Jason Kubel, Denard Span, Delmon Young and Jason Repko with Michael Cuddyer shifting to first.

As it turns out, Morneau has been able to avoid the disabled list, but Kubel, Young and Repko have not, so Revere presently finds himself in his second stint with the Twins this year. If Span's current bout with headaches and dizziness forces him to the DL, the door could open wider than ever for Revere, who would figure to get prolonged looks in center field and the leadoff spot.

Revere's flaws are readily apparent, and they're not likely to go away. At 5'9" and 170 pounds, he can't generate any power with his bat or with his arm.

In the outfield, he's got one of the weakest arms you will ever witness in the majors. Meanwhile, he hit only five home runs in 1,654 minor-league plate appearances and has collected one extra base hit in 90 trips to the dish as a big-leaguer.

But, both in the field and at the plate, Revere's blazing speed helps offset his weaknesses. His range in the outfield is good enough that he's an asset defensively in spite of the popgun. On offense, while he may rarely get himself past first base with his bat, he makes up for it by wreaking havoc once he's aboard. He swiped 154 bags in 380 minor-league games and ranks third on the Twins with three steals this year despite having played in only 21 games.

The key for Revere -- one that will make-or-break him as a big-league starter -- is his ability to get on base. He's never drawn a ton of walks so his OBP will likely always be reliant on his batting average. Fortunately, he has never had any trouble hitting for average.

Despite never having the luxury of repeating a level, the 23-year-old has hit .300 or better at each stop in the minors. With his tremendous quickness out of the box, his high contact rate and his ability to spray line drives, there's little reason to believe he can't carry this trait over to the big leagues once he acclimates (he is, in fact, currently on a 10-game hitting streak).

Of course, even if he can sustain a .300 average in the majors, Revere is going to have to learn how to draw at least a moderate number of walks in order to become a true offensive weapon.

In both Single-A and Double-A, he was able to OBP in the .370 range, which made him a legitimate asset at the top of the lineup. Yet, with his walk rate above those levels (only eight free passes in 231 plate appearances between Triple-A and the majors), he'd need a batting average of .330 or .340 to get on base at that clip.

I think the best we can realistically hope for in the long run is that Revere can become a guy who catches everything in the outfield (either in LF or CF), and routinely hits .300 with an OBP in the .350 range and a healthy number of steals. While this wouldn't make him a star, he'd be a very serviceable starter and, while earning the league minimum for the next few years, he'd give the Twins more flexibility elsewhere.

Here's hoping that Revere can show signs of becoming that player during this audition period.

21 comments:

USAFChief said...

IMO the best one can hope for from Revere is he turns into an adequate 4th outfielder. No walks, no power, and no arm does not make for a good major league starter.

perkins said...

I've been super optimistic on Revere for quite awhile, and I think what we're seeing now is a pretty good sampling of what's to come for the next few years from the young outfielder. Although he bats for excellent average, you bring up the excellent point Nick that he doesn't draw alot of walks in any capacity. This leads me to wonder if, so long as Denard Span is in a Twins uniform, Revere could best be utilized when he's in a 5-7 type spot in the lineup where his high average performances would hopefully translate to RBI's. Still, the prospect of having guys like him, Span, Nishioka, Mauer, and Morneau who all bat for very good average (generally) makes me very excited for what the Twins have in years to come. Nick, do you see the Twins letting Kubel or Cuddyer walk if Revere's defensive range and ability to bat for average and tear up the basepaths translate well into the majors? It would seem to me that Revere is added incentive to allow the Twins to dish out all that salary tied up between the two (with Kubel expecting a big contract and Cuddyer currently entangled in one).

Anonymous said...

Watched this kid grow up...trust me, he will be better than you guys think!

Jon Marthaler said...

As a grammar crank of long standing, I would like to politely request that no one ever use "OBP" as a verb ever again.

Twins Fan c.1981 said...

Jon Marthaler's not down with OBP.

Anonymous said...

Best case scenario for Revere is if he turns out like Juan Pierre. Unfortunately, I think there's a good chance he could end up no better than Jason Tyner. Here's hoping Gardy doesn't decide to DH him like he did Tyner.

Curt said...

I don't understand why teams don't take guys in the minors with holes in their game and send them to a training camp of some sort. Playing 120 games a year has value, obviously, but wouldn't they benefit from intense practice sessions. Playing a lot of games makes them better at what they are already good at. Practice improves their weaknesses. While power and speed cannot be learned, plate discipline, fielding, base running are techniques that can.

Nick N. said...

No walks, no power, and no arm does not make for a good major league starter.

I think it's too soon to claim he'll never be able to walk. Let's give him a year to adjust to a particular level of competition first. If he could even get back to the 7-8 percent walk rate he had in Single-A and Double-A it would help him a lot.

As a grammar crank of long standing, I would like to politely request that no one ever use "OBP" as a verb ever again.

I've done it before, and I'll do it again!

Best case scenario for Revere is if he turns out like Juan Pierre. Unfortunately, I think there's a good chance he could end up no better than Jason Tyner.

Those would be the two ends of the spectrum for a player of his skill set. Scott Podsednik is another decent comp who probably falls somewhere in the middle.

SoCalTwinsfan said...

We've been spoiled by Span. The Twins are the only team in the AL that has their leadoff men (first batters in the order) reaching base better than a .350 clip, so that would be more than adequate for Revere. It's sad that no one behind Span has been able to drive him home consistently.

Josh said...

The lack of an arm doesn't bother me...as long as he plays CF, where his great speed can be used to its max. He'll need to find more patience at the plate to really thrive, but there's a reasonable possibility that he can post an OBP over .350 and if he does he'll be an asset for the club. With his high BA and elite speed he could be a great fit for the 2nd spot in the order behind Span, occasionally leading off as well. (look, we all know Mauer is almost perfect there, but Gardy will always put a speedier guy there if he has one. At least Revere might put up the BA to move runners from 1st to 3rd and won't get nailed by too many DPs)

I really think his D has elite potential, and with a pokey guy like Kubel, Cuddyer, or Young occupying one or both of the corner spots and a lot of fly=ball pitchers on the staff, Revere's ability to cover ground could be a real asset. Put Span in left and the Twins OF defense goes back up to elite levels no matter who plays RF.

Hopefully, he'll be able to hit at the MLB level. This season is a good time to find out.

Alex said...

With his defensive skills, why hasn't Revere been playing in left when he isn't playing center? Can we chalk it up to a fear that Delmon would be even worse if they switched up sides on him?

Anonymous said...

Revere is probably 5'7" as I have stood next to him at twins fest. With his swing he's never going to hit for power. I would say the Juan Pierre comp is a good one.

USAFChief said...

I really think his D has elite potential

His arm strength pretty much eliminates any possibility of "elite," particularly as a CFer. I think you underestimate just how weak his arm really is, and what that means for an outfielder. He can get by with that arm because OF defense isn't nearly as important is IF defense, but he'll never be "elite" no matter how much ground he covers. He's going to give up a lot of bases to runners no matter where he plays in the OF, and those bases will negate much of the value his speed provides.

J.D said...

you guys aren't seeing the value in Revere. He's a run producer... both with his speed and average. I would take him over Delmon Young (and his negative WAR) any day of the week. Ben doesn't panic in extra base situations and has enough arm strength to hit his cut off man. He's also much faster which means he'll get to more flyballs than Young. He creates pressure on pitchers. Plate dicipline is something that can be learned (although some never do... C.Gomez, D.Young). Future Twins outfield has Ben Revere (LF), Aaron Hicks (CF), and there are a ton of options in RF.

J.D said...
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J.D said...
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J.D said...

as I wrote that last comment. Ben just came through again with his 2nd 2-out RBI. This time in the 10th inning. He drove in 2 of the three runs the Twins have scored and scored the other run. He's a run prodcuer.

Dan Cook said...

Revere would be a solid, if not ideal option in left. It's tempting to picture his speed roaming center field, but his arm's just too weak to play there.

Unfortunately, as long as Delmon's healthy, he wants to play left field. And if you think he's played indifferently at times this season, just watch what would happen if you put him in right field against his wishes.

I'm all for getting Revere playing time and seeing what he can do in the big leagues. But Delmon's only value to this club is if he gets things going enough to where they can trade him. And that's not going to happen with him pouting in right field, or on the bench.

Anonymous said...

I like how you mention that's it's almost the half point in the season to bash Young. But don't mention that Young has only had 160 at-bats.

But whatever helps Nick make his point.

Nick N. said...

I like how you mention that's it's almost the half point in the season to bash Young. But don't mention that Young has only had 160 at-bats.

Oh, you mean because of all that time he missed when he couldn't "get loose." Pardon me.

George said...

Regardless of how Revere turns out as a major leaguer, how do you guys think the Twins did in drafting him? Back when he was drafted, from what I've read the pick was mostly panned for being a major reach by the Twins. Has he at least made the Twins look smart in that regard?