Exploring Revere’s Rocky Start – Phillies Nation

Exploring Revere’s Rocky Start


Things can’t get much worse for Ben Revere at the plate right now. Photo: AP

On December 6 of last year, the Phillies traded Vance Worley and top-prospect Trevor May to the Minnesota Twins for an exciting, young, free-swinging centerfield with a proclivity for putting the ball in play, finding ways to get on base and, once on, creating havoc with his blazing speed.

As of this post, that player has yet to arrive in Philadelphia. Instead, the player the Phillies acquired has been a nightmare at the plate.

To say it has been a poor start for Ben Revere in Philadelphia would be putting it extremely mildly. Ask any Phillies fan how Revere has played through his first month in red pinstripes, and you’d be certain to hear a much more colorful description of his play.

Rightfully so. There are not enough negative superlatives in the English language to adequately describe Revere’s offensive output. Sure, he’s displayed his fantastic speed. The only problem is, he never gets to show it off because he is never on base.

His .245 OBP currently ranks 24th among the 26 qualifying centerfielders in baseball, and is nearly 100 points lower than the .333 mark he posted last season. His .471 OPS ranks 25th. So far this year, Revere has combined a complete lack of power with a complete inability to get on base. It’s a rare and costly combination.

So what has the issue been for Revere?

The low OBP would cause one to guess he hasn’t been taking as many walks this season as he did last season. While the supposition is logical in theory, it’s untrue. Last season, Revere walked in 5.2% of his plate appearances. So far this season, he’s walked in exactly 5.0% of them, a nearly identical number. To compound that point, Revere has swung at less balls this year (25.6% this year versus 27.6% last year). In fact, many of Revere’s peripheral numbers are close to the same as last season. The only difference has been the results.

One area where Revere has struggled more this season, however, is with strikeouts. Last year, Revere struck out in just 9.8% of his at-bats, an impressive number. This year, Revere has struck out in 14% of the at-bats he’s had so far. And while that discrepancy doesn’t seem so drastic, it would mean five more balls in play for Revere over 100 PA, and five more opportunities to get use his speed to get on base. This helps explain why his infield hits per AB has been cut in half, down to 5.4% from 10.8% last season.

Something else Revere has done more of this season is hit the ball on the ground, while hitting less line drives. Last year, he posted a 66.9% groundball rate. This year, it’s up to 74.7%. In terms of line drives, he’s down from 18.6% last year to 13.3% this year. The result has been fewer extra base hits for the 24-year old, and by a wide margin. Through 100 PA last season, Revere had slugged seven extra base hits (5 doubles, two triples). This year, he has just one.

Finally, luck has been a culprit in Revere’s early-season struggles. Last season, Revere posted a BABIP of .325. His career mark is .302. But through the first month of this season, his BABIP has been a measly .241. On this alone, fans can expect to see improvement from the fleet-footed Revere.

All of these factors, some of them within Revere’s control, some of them not, have played a part in Revere’s first month–one of the grisliest I can ever remember. While Revere has dazzled in the field and been great on base when he does manage to get on, he is largely responsible for the .606 OPS Phillies outfielders are currently sporting, the worst among all outfield tandems in baseball. His offense has been so bad, that he’s currently a -0.6 WAR player, despite being above average in the field and as a baserunner.

It’s no wonder then that fans have begun lamenting the initial trade for Revere. The Phillies gave up a decent package for him. And while Worley has struggled (his ERA currently sits at 7.22), and May hasn’t proven to be anything more than a prospect, it’s impossible not to consider what else the Phils could have gotten for these trade pieces (a package with these two players and another prospect for Dexter Fowler, perhaps?)

Those ready to give up on Revere needn’t push the panic button just yet. After all, it’s only been one month and Revere’s numbers suggest stabilization is imminent.

Those who don’t believe in luck need to look no further than the Phillies other offseason targets for centerfield to understand what one month means. Among centerfielders, B.J. Upton, Denard Span, and Angel Pagan currently rank 24th, 21st, and 16th in OPS respectively. In other words, no matter who the Phils tabbed as their centerfielder for this season, if he wasn’t named Dexter Fowler, he was going to have a subpar first month. Revere, at least, is doing it at minimal cost.

Still, as the offense continues to search for consistent output, watching Revere struggle has become particularly infuriating. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before his numbers begin to show improvement. But for the Phillies, that day can’t come soon enough.





  1. Ken Bland

    May 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Articles are written to a general audience. That being the case, this is useful to a fairly casual fan, or one stopping by for occasional Phils news. To those watching Revere regularly, what it’s about is more what can be done to turn his efforts productive. All I’m seeing his he might have some luck to withdraw from his bank account at the BAPIP branch. When a guy can’t hit with authority, it’s tough to get excited.

    I’ll readily admit I misread this player so I can’t say it’s not a little unstable to be chanting a 180 degree different view. But when the team is 4-0 since he ffirst drew pine, that should open eyes, if not mandate a drastic change, even though my view is the latter is real close to obviously the way to go. It’d be nice to hear a first hand view from whoever in the chain liked acquiring him to learn where we might be missing the boat. I certainly don’t see it.

    • Ryan Dinger

      May 3, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      Ken, you certainly make a valid point about Revere’s inability to hit the ball with very much authority. We see as much in his declining line drive rate. Still, I think the low BABIP has hurt him more than people realize. I’m not sure about you, but I never expected him to be a guy who hits more than singles with the occasional hit for extra bases. As I noted above, his XB hits have dropped drastically this season through 100 PA. One thing I didn’t mention above, though, is that he posted a .349 BABIP through his first 100 PAs last season, when he notched seven XB hits.

      I didn’t have the luxury of watching Revere play last season, so I can’t say how much hit with authority. But I have to think on BABIP alone fans can expect him to improve and become something closer to the player we were expecting.

      • Ken Bland

        May 3, 2013 at 1:31 pm

        I didn’t so much expect extra base hits as I did more than ground balls. Couple Sundays ago, he hit 4 infield grounders and was 3 steps from a 4 for 4 day. That’s obviously exciting at first glance, but I remember thinking at the time that I wasn’t sure how good it was.

        I’m not an ardent admirer of his overall defense, either. The range? Sure. The routes? Meh.
        The arm? Incredibly, maybe worst than advertised.

        We’ll see how it shakes out. Color me not enthused about the prospects, but reality will be the be all and end all, not one guy’s expectations.

      • EricL

        May 3, 2013 at 4:30 pm

        I tend to agree that his defense is overrated.

        He’s very fast, of course, but his routes to balls are frequently poor and his arm is Pierresque.

        Exhibit A: http://i.imgur.com/xWPpOKy.gif

      • Dave P

        May 3, 2013 at 5:40 pm


        Ben Revere is a GREAT fielder. Nobody should be arguing otherwise.

  2. Lefty

    May 3, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I do not have any professional coaching experience, nor scouting, nor have I done anything close to being labeled a baseball expert in any shape or form.

    I follow my baseball instincts from 35 years of playing and coaching kids all the way up to the high school level, that’s it, that’s all I got.

    My baseball instincts tell me this guy Revere doesn’t have a low BABIP due to bad luck. They tell me he just doesn’t hit the ball well enough to deserve better luck. i think the pitchers on other teams know this, and are not afraid to throw him strikes. Maybe his timing is screwed up, maybe he’s been silently injured somewhere that we don’t know about and it saps his abilities. It’s happens.

    That said,

    I sincerely hope I am wrong, but right now, Ben Revere doesn’t look like a major league hitter to me. I have no expectations of seeing significant improvement in him any time soon.

  3. Bart Shart

    May 3, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Based on what I haved seen so far, Ben Revere is a pathetic offensive player with as little power that I have ever withnessed in the Bigs. He does not walk and has not mastered bunting. He is decent defensively, but he is a definite hole in the Phillies lineup so far and a bust.

    • schmenkman

      May 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      If we had blinders on and all we could see was this year, I would agree. But we know he’s been better than this in the past, and I don’t see any reason why, at his age, he couldn’t match and actually, more likely, surpass what he did in Minnesota.

  4. George

    May 3, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    My feelings about BABIP is that it’s an overrated stat. It just doesn’t tell enough of the story.

    If a guy hits line drives, I’m pretty certain more of them will drop in if only because there’s less time for a fielder to grab the ball than if it’s a fly and stays in the air a while, or is a grounder that’s not sharl[y hit.

    It seems plausible to me that Rever’es average is down because his line drive percentage is also down. Unless something is done to get him to keep the ball off the ground, he’ll likely continue to have problems.

    One other thing which wasn’t pointed out: hitting the ball on the ground means more double plays, so too many times Revere is causing two outs with his blasted grounders.

    Charlie Manuel says Revere needs to shorten his swing and use his wrists more. I hope the coaches are working on that.

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