Ben Revere Now the Center of Attention for Philadelphia Phillies

Victor FiloromoCorrespondent IFebruary 20, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 8:  Ben Revere #11 of the Minnesota Twins sits on the bench in the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Target Field on September 8, 2012 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Marilyn Indahl/Getty Images)
Marilyn Indahl/Getty Images

Ben Revere’s energy and enthusiasm has sparkled since the day the Phillies traded for their new center fielder back in December.

His Twitter account soon became a hit amongst fans, gaining a whole set of new followers from Philadelphia. He always seems to have an opinion about something.

Some are already saying that the addition of Revere makes it feel like the high-speed and exuberant personality of Shane Victorino never really left.

That may be true, but Phillies fans will soon see that on the field, the story will be a lot different.

After the trade of Victorino last July, the Phillies knew they would need a replacement for 2013.

The rest of 2012 saw John Mayberry, Jr. playing a lot in center, which the team knew wouldn’t be a viable option moving forward.

Enter Revere.

The Phillies acquired Revere on December 6, dealing pitchers Vance Worley and Trevor May to Minnesota to get their new center fielder.

If Revere feels like a third or fourth option, it’s because he probably was.

The Phillies were certainly interested in B.J. Upton, who ended up in Atlanta. They were interested in Angel Pagan, who ended up staying in the bay as a San Francisco Giant.  Michael Bourn waited the entire off-season out before signing with Cleveland.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. knew he had to concoct a trade by some point in November.

Some will say the Phillies overpaid to get Revere.

Worley was a valuable option in the Phillies’ rotation, but he probably would have been a tad costly with regards to arbitration numbers coming up over the next few years. May was a highly touted prospect that flamed out in 2012 but still has some promise.

The general consensus seems to be that the Phillies might have overpaid a bit, but that the price was the going rate for a young center fielder, one that will be under team control through the 2017 season.

So what exactly can the Phillies expect from Revere?

Well, for starters, he won’t be a home-run hitter like Victorino was. In fact, Revere has yet to hit a homer in 989 career at-bats.

That said, the Phillies are not paying Revere to hit homers.

They’re paying him to be an above-average defensive player (something they couldn’t get with anybody on the roster before), a high-contact hitter and a base stealer.

Revere finished 2012 with a .294 average, .333 on-base percentage and a .342 slugging percentage. What jumps out there is the high-average and low on-base combination. Revere does not walk often, clocking in at 5.2 percent of the time, among the bottom of the barrel for qualified outfielders last year. On the flip side, Revere’s strikeout rate was fourth best amongst qualified outfielders. When Revere swings the bat, he makes contact 92.6 percent of the time, which was third highest amongst all players in 2012.

This was not a fluke, as he posted a very similar number in 2011.

When the Phillies acquired Revere, the debate obviously began about whether or not he would be the team’s leadoff hitter.

For now, that does not appear to be an option.

Jimmy Rollins is firmly cemented as the team’s leadoff man. Rollins saw 3.72 pitches per plate appearance last year, while Revere saw 3.61. Neither is really a heart-stopping number for a leadoff hitter, but Rollins has been there for pretty much all of his career, and a change does not seem to be coming any time soon.

What Revere also brings to the Phillies is youth.

That should not be a lost factor here.

Revere will turn 25 in May, and on a team with an aging core, that will help, since the Phillies are low on MLB-ready position prospects. Tommy Joseph and Roman Quinn come to mind, but neither would is likely to crack the starting lineup until 2015. The acquisition of Revere gives the Phillies a young guy that they can count on.

The Phillies may have added the younger version of a guy who was on their roster last year: Juan Pierre.

The similarities are evident.

Revere’s last two years (his age 23 and 24 seasons), he hit .281/.322/.327 and averaged 37 steals. Pierre had stronger on-base numbers and a bit more power, hitting .307/.358/.377 from 2001-2003, while averaging 53 steals. That said, it’s an easy (and maybe somewhat lazy) comparison. Revere, like Pierre in his prime, is a fast outfielder that can cover a lot of ground, steal bases and hit the ball without striking out a lot.

Revere has played all three outfield spots but will undoubtedly play in center for the Phillies. He doesn’t have a rocket arm and sometimes takes a bad route to a ball here and there, but he should be competent enough to man the position. His UZR/150 last year in center was -2.1, but he rated very well in center in 2011 when he played a larger set of games there, with a 15.1 number.

Maybe the most interesting aspect of the trade is that Revere posted a 3.4 WAR last year, while B.J. Upton, the man the Braves have given $75.25 million to, had a 3.3 WAR last year in Tampa Bay.

The Phillies were certainly very happy to deal from a position of strength (pitching) to get something they desperately needed (a young, controllable outfielder).

Now it’s time to see if Ben will become a revered figure in Philadelphia.


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