Revering Revere, Minor League Notes and Blog Spotting

11 Jul

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Ben Revere has been given a lot of credit for the Twins run through June and early July. He has been called an instigator, a leader, and many other superlatives. Revere has been a polarizing prospect since the Twins used their 1st round pick in the 2007 MLB Draft. At that time, he was known as the fastest high school player available in that draft. However, “Experts” thought he would be taken in the 2nd or 3rd round. So when the Twins used the 28th overall pick on Revere, many experts thought the Twins reached. The Twins were accused of being cheap, especially when Revere agreed to sign for “just” $750,000.

Since signing, Revere has done his best to prove the Twins were right in showing such high confidence in him. As a 19 year old in the GCL, he hit .325/.388/.461. He flirted with .400 most of the 2008 season in Beloit and ended the season at .379/.433/.497. In 2009 in Ft. Myers, he hit .311/.372/.369. Last year in New Britain, he hit .305/.371/.363 and played in 13 games for the Twins in September. In 32 games in Triple-A Rochester this year, he hit .303/.338/.364.

Revere does a lot very well! As you can see, and we have all seen, he can hit for a good batting average. He has incredible, game-changing speed. That is a positive in getting a lot of his singles, in stealing bases, and scoring from 1B on a double. Defensively, he gives the Twins the kind of range in centerfield that we haven’t seen since Carlos Gomez was sent to the Brewers.

There is no question that Revere will be a big part of the Twins lineup for years to come. But how good will he or can he be? That will likely depend upon how much he can improve the areas of the game in which he is the weakest. Here are the concerns with Revere:

  • His throwing arm – Every report we heard about Revere in his minor league career mentioned his weak arm. He have now seen plenty of the arm and understand that it is weak. Can it be improved? Well, it will never be a good arm, for sure, but if he can make minimal improvements and be accurate, it should not hurt the team much. Also, in centerfield, his plus-plus range far outweighs his lock of arm strength.
  • Power – The Twins insisted when they drafted Revere and since then that they believe that he will hit for some power as he develops. That sentiment has not been voiced as much in recent years. Revere has a nice swing and will get his share of doubles and triples, but he will never be a home run hitter. He will be a top or bottom of the order hitter, so home run power is really not a necessity.
  • On-Base Percentage – In 214 big league plate appearances, Revere has posted an on-base percentage of just .297. That is not a good number for a ninth-place hitter much less a leadoff hitter.
  • Isolated Discipline – This is simply the On-Base Percentage minus the Batting Average. It shows how much a player’s OBP is based on batting average, or if they walk a lot and still get on base. Here are his IsoD’s since that 2007 in the GCL, .063, .054, .061, .066, .035. In his time with the Twins, he has an IsoD of .038. Ideally, he will be able to bring his IsoD back up over .050 as it was through AA. However, the .035 in Rochester and the .038 with the Twins can be alarming. Why? Because if he maintains that, he will need to hit about .330 to approach Denard Span’s career on-base percentage of .367. If he hits .260, he will struggle to post a .300 OBP.

What is really exciting is that Revere has had a big impact on the Twins on the field and seemingly has been a spark for the lineup without putting up strong offensive numbers. That bodes well for when he does learn this game more, gets more plate appearances and gets more comfortable.

Often when people talk about a good comparison for Revere, the name Juan Pierre comes up. That is generally mocked and ridiculed because of the horrific contract he signed about five years ago (5 years, $50 million). I generally think that it is a very good comparison for Revere, and hope that he can put up the types of numbers that Pierre did his first five or six seasons in the big leagues, primarily with Colorado and Florida. He had a big impact on the Marlins when he was knocking out 200+ hits a season and stealing 50+ bases. That is the type of player that Ben Revere can be. Like him or not, Pierre has been a big leaguer now for 12 seasons.

How similar are the two?

Here is a look at their minor league stats:

Juan Pierre – 1452 plate appearances (parts of 4 seasons) – .331/.379/.393 (.771) with 54 doubles, 12 triples, one home run and 151 SB in 192 attempts (78.6%)

Ben Revere – 1,654 plate appearances (parts of 5 seasons) – .326/.385/.408 (.793) with 49 doubles, 29 triples, five home runs and 154 SB in 208 attempts (74.0%)

I would say those are pretty similar numbers. Pierre made his debut with the Rockies just before his 23rd birthday. Revere debuted with the Twins last year as a 22 year old. I Pierre’s first season, 2000, he accumulated 219 plate appearances in 51 games. Through the All-Star break, Revere has now accumulated 219 plate appearances in 63 games. Here are each of their numbers through their first 219 Major League plate appearances:

Juan Pierre – .310/.353/.320 (.673) with two doubles, no triples, no home runs. He was 7/13 in SB attempts (53.8%) and had 13 walks and 15 strikeouts.

Ben Revere -.262/.300/.291 (.591) with four doubles, one triple, no home runs. He has been 11/17 in SB attempts (64.7%) and had ten walks and 21 strikeouts.

The Twins have control of Ben Revere probably through the end of the 2016 season, and he can be a very key component to the Twins success. That will put him to the age of 28. At that point, the Twins will have an interesting decision. Since Pierre turned 28, he has had just one season with an on-base percentage above .341. Defensively, it would appear that although neither can throw, Revere is a better defender.

Who knows what the future holds for Ben Revere? Despite very poor offensive numbers to this point, he has had a tremendous impact on the Twins since his return to the big leagues in early June. There is no disputing that. His range and his speed are incredible. He can flat-out hit singles. His exuberance is catchy. How good can he become? The arm isn’t going to get much (if any better). The power likely will not come in terms of home runs, but if he can knock 25-30 doubles a year and maybe 8-12 triples, that would be wonderful.

When people compare him to Juan Pierre, it is generally considered negative. In my mind, I think it should be considered a positive if he is for the Twins what Pierre was for the Rockies and Marlins early in his career.

Feel free to leave Comments here or on the TwinsCentric blog.

Minor League Scoreboard

Rochester beat Scranton/Wilkes Barred 3-1 on Sunday. Kevin Slowey started and threw 4.2 shutout innings. He gave up four hits, walked one and struckout three. Cole DeVries went the next 2.1 innings and gave up two hits and a walk, but no runs. Dusty Hughes struck out two in a scoreless eighth frame. Jim Hoey recorded his third save despite allowing an unearned run in the ninth. The Red Wings won despite the offense producing just five hits. Delmon Young went 1-2 with a two-run homer before leaving the game and being activated by the Twins. Steve Singleton was 1-2 with a walk and his third home run.

New Britain lost 9-4 to Binghampton. Brett Jacobson gave up five runs on four hits and four walks in 4.1 innings. Blake Martin went the next 3.2 innings and gave up just one run. Dakota Watts pitched the final inning and gave up three runs (1 earned) on two hits and a walk. Chris Herrmann and Michael Holliman were each 2-5.

Ft. Myers and Brevard County were postponed by rain.

Beloit topped Clinton 5-0. Manuel Soliman started and threw seven shutout innings. He gave up seven hits, walked none and struckout four. Nelvin Fuentes threw two perfect innings. Jairo Perez – who hit his 7th and 8th home runs in a month of Snappers games on Saturday – was 2-3 with a walk on Sunday. Lance Ray added his eight home run.

Elizabethton beat Greeneville 5-4. Tim Shibuya gave up three runs on six hits in six innings. He walked two and struckout three. Steven Gruver came in and gave up one run on four hits in 1.1 innings. Matt Summers came in for the final five outs, and he struck out three of them, for his second save. Nick Lockwood went 4-5 with his seventh double. Kennys Vargas went 2-4 with his third double. Jairo Rodriguez was 2-4 with his first double. Max Kepler went 2-4.

The GCL Twins did not play on Sunday.

Also in a bit of news that really surprised me when I heard it last night, the Twins have released Andrey Lobanov. The Russian left-hander was incredibly impressive in two previous minor league seasons. Recall at the GCL level two years ago (2009), he walked just one and struck out 35 in 22 innings. Last year, he went from EST to the Miracle and pitched well out of their bullpen, posting a 2-0 record with a 2.03 ERA in 26.2 innings before going back to Elizabethton and then Beloit. With the Snappers last year, he went 1-2 with a 3.44 ERA in 34 innings. He walked nine and struckout 30. He began the 2011 season in the Snappers rotation and it has been a mess. He made seven starts before moving back to the bullpen. All told, he is 0-7 with a 6.79 ERA in 53 innings. He has walked 17 and struckout 42, but he has allowed 77 hits. I’m mainly surprised by the news because of what he has done in the past and that he is left-handed. He is just 21 years old and from Russia, we knew that the development would be slow. That said, he did not throw hard and apparently some writing was on the wall. I’ve chatted several times with Andrei and he is a good, bright kid. I certainly wish him well with whatever his next step is.  

Please feel free to leave your comments on anything discussed today or any other Twins topics.


9 Responses to “Revering Revere, Minor League Notes and Blog Spotting”

  1. mike wants wins July 11, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    I love that people are excited about Revere. But, the comments on the Strib and the radio and other places that he is as good as Span are ridiculous. Someone even said that he was going to be Puckett-like in his impact. Amazing.

    He has good defensive value, despite the arm, but the arm is costly. He has limited offensive value until that OBP is much, much higher. His “power” is even worse than I thought, I was hoping for more gap-type doubles from him.

    He does appear to have that infectious personality-type. The Twins could use some of that…..

    • mike wants wins July 11, 2011 at 10:40 am #

      Oh, and to be clear, there should be a “so far” in that post above. I do think he’ll be better in the hitting area with more experience and age….

  2. AW July 11, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    I’ve been impressed with Revere. No, I don’t think he’s the second coming of Kirby Puckett, but he could have a valuable place in the lineup for years to come.
    To those talking about the low OBP, yes, it’s certainly true, but I think it’s worth noting that this is still his first time going through the league, facing starters, and even visiting certain stadiums.
    If he stays up the remainder of this year and compiles a lot of at-bats, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t start to become a more complete offensive player at the end of this year, and especially next year, at least with respect to working counts and drawing more walks.

  3. matthew0211 July 11, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    Revere may end up being a very good if used properly. With his weak arm, lack of power and walks, and inability to hit lefties, he has too many weaknesses to be a full-time player.

    My fear is that Gardy, with his propensity to give too much playing time to small, speedy players, will use him as a regular, maybe to the detriment of better prospects like Benson, Hicks, Arcia, Morales, etc. who should be coming up in the next few years. As a 4th/5th outfielder, I like Revere. I don’t trust Gardy and the Twins to use him in that proper role, however.

  4. JH July 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    I think he can be a very good full-time player. He can hit. He can field. He can steal. Considering his age and the number in minor, I believe his OBP will be improved in the not too distant future.
    I have only fear for his arm. It’s so sad that his weak arm is not only his weakness but also a weakness for this team. I just hope that his range will make up for it. Despite being with the poor arm, he is one of the best outfielder in this team.

    When Marlins won the World Series, Juan Pierre was one of the key player.(Other player was Pudge, Cabrera, ETC) He recorded AVG .333 / OBP .481 / SLG .429 / 1 IBB in 6 games. When he was with scoring position, he was threat to Yankees, so he earned 1 IBB.

    I think the best tool that Ben Revere has is that he can hit. He destroyed minor league pither in early ages with his single. And If Twins get the opportunity in the ALCS, I want to see him to do like that Pierre did in the series and he did in the league.

  5. USAFChief July 11, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    I think Jason Tyner is a better comp for Revere than Pierre. IMO he tops out as a pretty decent 4th/5th outfielder.

    • mike wants wins July 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

      Ouch. I hope he’s better than that…..but that is certainly a possiblity. I do think he’ll be better than that.

      • USAFChief July 11, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

        From high-A thru AAA Tyner and Revere are almost indistinguishable, although Tyner of course has a lot of mid- and late-career AAA time. First time through, same age, remarkably similar numbers.

  6. Observer July 13, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

    Intangibles. They confound the stats, because on paper nothing about what he has done should have jump started a 24-11 run since his return. Managers and FOs, fans and others never drop the rabbit’s foot in the trash can on the way to the lotto. The truth is….they are far better with him in the lineup right now, than without him. You will struggle to find that in the many stats that you’re perusing.

    What is Puckett-like about him? The winning. The smile. The infectious, contagious attitude that has taken a team 20 games under .500 and placed them square in the hunt. That’s Puckett-like.

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