I suppose it's high time we talked about Ben Revere, who is hitting .342 this season, which is behind only Paul Konerko in the American League among players with at least 100 at-bats. So, what's up?
Since being recalled from the minors and pretty much put into the lineup, Revere has hit .355 with 11 multi-hit games. I'm pretty sure that's really good but when I tried to see where that ranked him I see that there have been 3,964 multi-hit games this year and since you can only download the data for 300 at one time I'm going to go ahead and not do anything further with this information. He is being helped out by a very high BABIP of .365 right now, but with his speed he's bound to beat out a few more balls than most so I'd expect that to settle in around .310 or so. His walk rate is down a bit, but it was always pretty obvious he wasn't going to be a walk machine so that's not all that troubling to me, and more encouraging is his K-rate has nearly been cut in half, which shows he's figuring out big league pitching. His line drive rate has also increased compared to last year and he has yet to hit a pop-up in 2012. These are all encouraging signs that although he might not be a .340 hitter, he's probably trending towards that .310-.320 type of mark. Excellent.
One of the biggest concerns with Revere last year was an almost complete lack of power. His Isolated Power (SLG-AVG, a way to look at slugging without it being inflated by a high batting average) last season was just .042, which ranked him dead last in the majors behind such bombers as Juan Pierre, Jason Bartlett, and our own Jamey Carroll. It wasn't just a lack of power, it was a frightening lack of power. Happily, with five doubles and two triples so far this year, he's nearly doubled his ISO to .081 - still near the bottom of the league, but at least he's showing middle infielder power now instead of little leaguer power. His increase in line drive rate says he could maybe even uptick from here a bit if that trend holds, but based on his minor league power numbers this is pretty close to what we can expect from him going forward. Because of his speed, high average, and fielding he doesn't need to hit for power to be valuable, but it is nice to see he has at least managed to hit a gap now and again.
And speaking of fielding, the dude is just breath-taking out there at times. Remember this?
I mean. Like whoa. Now he's basically blocked from player center field because Denard Span's little tiny baby feelings will be hurt if they move him even though everybody who watches the Twins knows Revere is the better CF, but that hasn't stopped Revere from being the best corner outfielder with a noodle arm he can be. His Ultimate Zone Rating in right field this year (no I don't know what this is or how to calculate it) is 5.7, which ranks him as the fourth best right fielder in the majors. But since he missed some time when he was down on the farm and apparently UZR is a counting stat, when that's extrapolated out to 150 games he comes in as the #1 fielding right fielder in the game - and it's not even close. For reference sake, Revere's UZR in CF last year (he's barely been out there this year so the data is wonky) was 8.5, 15.1 per 150 games. Span's this year is 0.6 and 1.8 (in fairness last year Denard put up 9.0 and 17.6, so it's not like he's a slug out there or anything and they aren't killing themselves keeping him in center, it's just obvious that Revere has other-worldly range and should cover the 1/3 of the earth that water doesn't cover). For their careers Revere is 7.5 and 12.8 in center while Span is 5.7 and 2.3. So, despite Span putting up good numbers last year, that spot should be Revere's. Holy shit was that a lot of nerd talk but how else do you talk about fielding other than, "Dude did you see that?" Anyway.
And then there's Revere's speed on the bases. According to the stat nerds, the risk/reward of a stolen base is worth taking the chance as long as you can steal at a 75% success rate. Revere is at 78% in his career and 83% this year, with a career minor league success rate of 74%, so yes he should keep stealing and yes he's adding value on the base paths. He's still mainly stealing off his pure speed with little technique, but his improvement from year-to-year hopefully he means he's refining his technique and will continue to get better with age rather than relying on pure speed, which will eventually drop off. Running the bases is probably the most difficult thing to put into numbers, but naturally some nerd has done it and Revere rates at 8.3 on the scale where anything over 7.0 is considered an excellent baserunner. So I guess there's that.
In conclusion, I love Ben Revere and he's rounding into the player Twins' fans hoped he'd be. He's never going to develop more than 3-tools (speed, fielding, hitting for average with power and arm out of reach) but if he maximizes those three he's going to be the Twins' center fielder of the future and a quality lead-off hitter (and if he learns a little plate discipline he could even edge towards "great.") In short, trade Denard Span.
Next one of these I'm going to do is on Trevor Plouffe who went yard again tonight. I was going to do both these guys in this post but holy shit am I lazy.