2014 Phillies Player Preview: Ben Revere

Hunter Martin

The light-hitting center fielder started slow but picked up steam in a big way in 2013 until a freak injury sidelined him for half of last season. Is Ben Revere the Phils' center fielder of the future?


Ben Revere

#2 / Center Field / Philadelphia Phillies

5-9

175

L

R

May 03, 1988



Ben Revere... still with a Twins hat on? Come on, Ben! You got a new team now, bro! Hey, you gonna hit a dinger this year, man?

2013 Stats: 88 G, 336 PA, .305/.338/.352, OPS .691, wRC+ 92, 0 HR, 12 XBH, 22/30 SBs, 37 R, fWAR 0.9

2014 Projections:

Steamer... 113 G, 506 PA, .283/.325/.347, OPS .672, wRC+ 86, 2 HR(!!!), 23 XBH, 28/40 SBs, 52 R, fWAR 1.3

Oliver....... 143 G, 600 PA, .295/.337/.348, OPS .685, wRC+ 91, 0 HR, 24 XBH, 40/50 SBs, 76 R, fWAR 2.4

Contract: 1st Year Arb Eligible (Super 2), 1 yr/$1.95 M (he cannot become a free agent until 2018).

Ben Revere at Baseball-Reference.com and Fangraphs.com

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First, let's get over the fact that Steamer projects Ben Revere to hit TWO HOME RUNS this year. That would be quite an accomplishment seeing as how Ben has hit a grand total of zero long balls in 1400 career plate appearances. And I can't remember him even coming close ever.

That said, Ben Revere is not paid to hit home runs. He's paid to sit atop the lineup, get on base, score runs and play above average defense in center field.

Last year was a weird year for Revere. He could not have been more horrible at the plate in April, hitting .200/.234/.222 in 96 PAs, seemingly hitting a ground ball to shortstop every other at bat. It was tough to watch.

Then, he started turning things around, hitting .312 in May, .354 in June and .388 in July before fouling a ball off his foot, breaking it and ending his season.

Revere's career 5.2% walk rate is not want you want from an ideal leadoff hitter. By comparison, Jimmy Rollins' career BB% is 7.7%, and J-Roll has never been considered much of a bases on balls aficionado. Much of Revere's problem in the early going last year was a high K%, which was 14.5% in April. However, he cut that down to 11.1% in May and then to 9.3% in June, while at the same time increasing his batting average those two months.

That was not a coincidence.

Ben gets on base by finding holes for everything he hits on the ground and having a high line drive percentage, which was at a career high 23.2% last year. That is what helped account for a .344 BAbip in 2013, leading to his career high .305 batting average and .338 on-base percentage.

The big question is whether Revere can maintain that kind of production without drawing more walks. A .344 BAbip seems unsustainable, but when you're talking about a guy who has tremendous speed and hits line drives at a high rate, it's actually a somewhat sustainable number.

The Phillies hope so, because Revere isn't an extra-base machine. If the man ever hits a ball that lands over the fence, there's a good chance he might faint before he hits second base. You'd like to see more doubles and triples out of him, but perhaps that will come this year.

Regardless, Revere's base-stealing ability means he can turn a lot of those singles into doubles and triples all on his own. And much of his value comes from his defense, which the Phils hope improves in 2014.

Revere has speed to burn and should be an elite defender (although his throwing arm leaves a lot to be desired, as mentioned by a commenter). And, at times last year, he did make the spectacular play (cue the mandatory Revere diving catch highlight from Cincinnati last year)...

Catches like that are great fun, and is probably the second best catch in Phillies history, just after this Tony Barron ridiculousness in 1996 at the Vet.

Sorry, I had to include that. It's my favorite catch of all time. Tony Barron should have been given an eight-year contract for that catch alone.

But Revere's defense was somewhat lacking in 2013. His UZR was a career low -2.7 last year, his first full year as a Major League center fielder. He sometimes took bad routes to the ball, broke the wrong way on occasion, and didn't cover the ground many thought he would.

Still, much of what troubled Revere in center last year can be fixed with experience and coaching. He has the speed to be an elite defender, and the hope is that he'll be better in his second full year as a starting center fielder.

The Phillies offense would work best with an effective Revere in the lead-off hole, allowing the Phils to hit either Rollins or Utley in the #2 spot. When he gets on base, he creates havoc on the basepaths and can steal an extra run for the Phils here and there by taking the extra base, scoring from first on a double and from second on virtually any base hit.

And, at just 26 years old this year, he's one of the few young players on the roster with some promise.

The Phillies don't need Ben Revere to be Pete Rose out there. But they can't afford for him to be Ricky Otero, either.

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