• How Ben Revere Got to Rochester

    When the Twins long 2011 season came to an end, there were a lot of questions. Who would be back? Who would be healthy? However, in general, one of the players who was expected to remain with the Twins was Ben Revere. Throughout the offseason, it was just a given that, even thought he didn’t hit well in 2011, he improved his game in September and his range and speed made up for any other deficiencies. The biggest question early in the offseason was whether the Twins should have Revere play left field or center field with Denard Span playing the other position. The Twins talked about needing to improve defense throughout the offseason, and the thought of Revere and Span roaming left field and centerfield at Target Field was assumed to be part of that.

    So, how did it get to the point where, last Saturday, the Twins announced Ben Revere was headed to Triple-A? How did Ben Revere get to Rochester?

    OK, the literal answer is that he had a Sunday afternoon flight from Minneapolis to Rochester, NY. But I think we can all dig a little deeper than that. So many things have happened since then. Each of the following has had at least something to do with Ben Revere being back in AAA.

    Terry Ryan Reclaims Twins GM Job
    – When the news came that Bill Smith was losing the GM job and Terry Ryan was taking it back, Ryan did a lot of radio interviews. He was frequently asked about Denard Span and Ben Revere. When speaking of Span, he spoke glowingly about his defense, his arm, his approach at the plate, the pop in his bat, etc. When talking about Revere, it was quite clear that he felt that Revere was maybe a fourth outfielder and needed to improve.

    Cuddyer/Kubel Replaced by Willingham/Doumit
    – Although the Twins saved $21 million in this transition, they lose very little on the field.

    Denard Span is Healthy
    – Before the concussion issues last year, Denard Span was the top defensive center fielder in the league. He is also a tremendous lead-off hitter who gets on base at a great clip and has enough pop in his bat to accumulate a lot of extra base hits.

    Even at that point, as spring training began, the assumption was that Span and Revere would team up in left and center with Willingham covering the smaller right field. But a couple of things happened in spring that really reduced the likelihood of playing time for Ben Revere.

    Chris Parmelee’s Emergence
    – Parmelee had a strong second half in New Britain, a tremendous debut in September and a strong spring. It was clear that he had won a spot on the team.

    Justin Morneau as DH
    – With Parmelee able to play 1B and needing to play every day, it made it much easier to let Morneau get his confidence back as a full-time DH.

    HOWEVER…

    The Catchers Need to Play Elsewhere
    – Ryan Doumit was likely to be the Twins DH most days simply to get his bat in the lineup, but if Morneau is the DH, Doumit needs to play elsewhere. Joe Mauer will likely DH or play 1B when he doesn’t catch. That means that Chris Parmelee may need to play elsewhere. Doumit and Parmelee would not play well in left field but could hold their own in right field (and they got some time there in spring games). Gardenhire really likes Trevor Plouffe in right field.

    Willingham Feels More Comfortable in Left Field
    – As all of these things were pushing toward needing to find at bats for several players in right field, Revere included, Josh Willingham suddenly acknowledged that he felt more comfortable in left field. That made sense. I mean, that’s the primary position that he has played in his big league career. But, is it also possible that he moves to left and right field can be a place where Doumit, Plouffe and Parmelee can play?

    Claiming Clete Thomas
    – When the Twins had the opportunity to claim Clete Thomas, a guy they had drafted long ago out of high school, they jumped on it. With Thomas, they found a guy who can play all three outfield positions well, has a good arm, and has some power potential. Frankly, Revere's arm (even if it is stronger) is not strong enough for right field.

    In reality, this is good news for Ben Revere for a couple of reasons:

    Too Young to Sit
    – With all of the above bats (Doumit, Parmelee, Plouffe) to try to fit into right field and Span and Willingham in the lineup everyday, where were the at bats for the 23-year-old? In Rochester. Most are in agreement that Joe Benson, Brian Dozier and Chris Parmelee are guys who should be playing every day in Rochester instead of playing one to three times a week in Minnesota. Revere is younger than all three of them.

    Too Talented to Sit
    – If there is a belief that Ben Revere’s ceiling is that of a fourth outfielder, then playing three times or less a week is fine, regardless of the age. But how quickly do we forget that he has hit .325/.384/.406 in his minor league career. Although he hit an alarming .267/.310/.309 with the Twins in 480 plate appearances in 2011, it does not mean that is his ceiling. He has about 150 plate appearances in AAA, and there are things he can work on to improve and if there is a need with the Twins, he can come up and be more ready.

    In three games in Rochester this week, he has already played a game at all three outfield positions. He has made two or three diving catches already. He has also caught a ball in medium-deep centerfield and had a runner tag up and go to third on him. He is getting every day at bats as the team’s leadoff hitter. Instead of sitting on the pine with the Twins, he is getting better, and at the end of the day, that is in the best interest of Ben Revere and of the Minnesota Twins.
    This article was originally published in blog: How Ben Revere Got to Rochester started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 20 Comments
    1. Raven's Avatar
      Raven -
      Good stuff. I still don't see how he'll ever fit in any outfield position if the arm doesn't improve - speedy or not. Sacrifice runs to get his bat and speed? Tough call for someone in the future. Who knows, he might even end up as trade bait for our pitching woes but it's hard to get much value when he's barely been up to the majors.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Personally I never thought it was a "given" that Revere would be a starting OFer for the Twins in 2012.

      For that matter, I don't think he'll ever hold down a starting MLB OF job, but that remains to be seen.
    1. travistwinstalk's Avatar
      travistwinstalk -
      Seth I respectfully disagree with you on this subject. However this is a subject we have disagreed about for 3 years as I am much higher on Revere than you are. I don't see him as a 4th outfielder at all. In the minor leagues he was over a .300 career hitter who stole over 40 bases in most of those years. Granted his arm is not good adn I agree he should not be a right fielder, but he should be a big league starter. Look at the ground he can cover and the catches he made last year unbelievable. Look at that game against the Rangers on Sunday, that triple that Andrus hit over Clete Thomas head Revere likely would have caught. Power is not that important especially at Target Field where not alot of hr's happen. He will be on 2nd base most times anyway after a single and a stolen base. I just don't see why everyone is so quick to jump off the Revere bandwagon. I am not going to criticize you Seth or the Twins, but at the end of the day both you and the Twins are wrong about him and it will be a shame if this diamond shines for a different organization same day.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Travis, I think I wrote that he is to talented to sit. In that section, I mentioned his career minor league line, including batting average and OBP. In doing so, I think I wrote that he is too young to call 'just a 4th OF.' If we agree on that, and that he is NOT a right fielder, then the demotion was the correct move.

      I don't think anyone questions the range he can cover in the outfield. I guess, i'm not sure how we completely disagree.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      My experience on the divide on Revere seems to be centered on this question:

      True or False: Ben Revere will be a productive starting outfielder in the majors for several years?

      I'd be interested in what people think to this. I'll go with "True." His batting skills further develop so he gets on base at an above average rate. From there his speed and defensive range overcome his lack of power.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      True or False: Ben Revere will be a productive starting outfielder in the majors for several years?
      .
      Got to define "productive" better, but I think that Revere will have higher career WAR in the majors that Cuddyer. Guess my answer is "True" too.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Correct... the definition of "productive" would need clarification, but I thought he was a playmaker, game-changer (and if nothing else, entertaining) last year when he didn't get get on base at a good clip. He made things happen, and we all know about the defense (range, not arm). I was actually encouraged by his strong September and looking forward to what he could make happen even getting on base 33% of the time... if he ever got on base more than 35% of the time, he would be very productive.
    1. roger's Avatar
      roger -
      Another great read Seth, Thanks!

      I watch most of the Red Wings games and saw both of his diving catches Tuesday night. They weren't his best, but were outs that 80% of centerfielders don't get to (yes, he was in left field). As for John's question, I believe that Ben Revere will be a productive starting outfielder for a long time. He will just be a bit different than what most fans like to see...ie, fast with almost no power.

      My other question that you touched on is what happens to Parmelee when Morneau is playing first base half of the time? With Gardy preferring to have Mauer at first a few games a week when Doumit is catching, Parmelee could be down to a couple games a week at first. Does he go back to Rochester? I don't see that as a problem if he does as he needs to play every day. Personally, I thought that is the move that was going to happen yesterday.
    1. whydidnt's Avatar
      whydidnt -
      Well, I think Revere is an outfielder in a second baseman's body. I think he could turn out to be a productive Major League Outfielder, but I still think his best fit is a 4th OF. If he stays in Twins organization we may never know, though. Where's he going to play. Willingham is signed for 3 years, Span is entrenched in CF and they clearly don't see him as a RF, the DH position is best served by guys like Morneau, Doumit, Mauer, etc. I will say this, I think it's good for teams to have guys that play with Revere's enthusiasm in the lineup on a frequent basis. How can you watch him go all out like he does and not want to do the same?
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      My experience on the divide on Revere seems to be centered on this question:

      True or False: Ben Revere will be a productive starting outfielder in the majors for several years?

      I'd be interested in what people think to this. I'll go with "True." His batting skills further develop so he gets on base at an above average rate. From there his speed and defensive range overcome his lack of power.
      Agreed. I go with "true" as well. I think he has the capability to hit for a high average, especially with his speed. I have concerns that he may not master the strike zone well enough to get on base at the clip he needs to if he has an unlucky year with BABIP, but even if he ends up more like Juan Pierre as a hitter he can be a starting CF for many years with his skills in CF.

      I hope this means that the days of speculation that we'll deal Span for a relief pitcher are long past!
    1. uno321's Avatar
      uno321 -
      Just curious how Span would have been considered the top defensive CF in the league. Was that based on defensive metrics during that season in which he got hurt? I had always heard he was essentially an average or slightly above average defensive CF. Just curious.

      Also, according to Baseball Reference, Revere never slugged .487 for his minor league career. They list his career SLG at .406. And in fact, since 2009 when he started in A+ ball, he has never slugged better than .369.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by uno321 View Post
      Just curious how Span would have been considered the top defensive CF in the league. Was that based on defensive metrics during that season in which he got hurt? I had always heard he was essentially an average or slightly above average defensive CF. Just curious.

      Also, according to Baseball Reference, Revere never slugged .487 for his minor league career. They list his career SLG at .406. And in fact, since 2009 when he started in A+ ball, he has never slugged better than .369.
      1.) I corrected the .487 SLG% Truly don't know where I got that number from.
      2.) As for defense, I'm not a big believer in defensive stats yet, but every defensive stat last year had Span at the top when he was hurt. Not saying he would have stayed there, maybe he would have... general comment from me would be that he's a pretty strong defensive centerfield with a decent arm.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by roger View Post
      My other question that you touched on is what happens to Parmelee when Morneau is playing first base half of the time? With Gardy preferring to have Mauer at first a few games a week when Doumit is catching, Parmelee could be down to a couple games a week at first. Does he go back to Rochester? I don't see that as a problem if he does as he needs to play every day. Personally, I thought that is the move that was going to happen yesterday.
      Roger,

      If when Morneau is playing 1B more, Mauer will DH instead of playing 1B. Mauer will only play 1B as when Morneau is DH'ing.

      Also, Parmelee will play a few games in RF.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      My experience on the divide on Revere seems to be centered on this question:

      True or False: Ben Revere will be a productive starting outfielder in the majors for several years?

      I'd be interested in what people think to this. I'll go with "True." His batting skills further develop so he gets on base at an above average rate. From there his speed and defensive range overcome his lack of power.
      Depending on what is meant by "several" years, I have to go with False. He's a Three Tool player, where five-tool players are perennial all-stars and four-tool guys are solid starters or better. In the three-tool range, you're getting down to OK starters and platoon players. With his lack of power and lack of arm, he's not the right guy in your lineup for various situations, and that means getting subbed out (or the one being subbed in). What's worse, one of his legitimate tools is speed and that is something that can decay precipitously. (By contrast, look at Thome for an example of power being a tool that can last indefinitely.) I can't see him being a starter after he loses a step. I hope for the best of course, but I don't foresee him as a starter for a good team at age 30, and that's what I assume is meant by "several" years. Fourth outfielder on a World Series team? Absolutely.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      The biggest decision is what the Twins do with Benson, Revere and possibly Hicks. Willingham is still around until 204, but could DH. But Justin is making a play to be around past 2013...but would be a better fit for DH after that. Parmelee is the Twins interim first baseman as others develop. Seeing if the Twins flip Revere for Bowen, perhaps, as Red Sox can still trade the guy rather than lose him on waivers.
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      Ben Revere was our organizations #1 pick only 5 years ago. What were the Twins expecting? I am guessing the Twins saw the potential for a solid hitter, with little power, who gets on base regularly, is an absolute menace on the basepaths and great range in the outfield. The Twins probably thought his arm would develop a little more than it has, but what has he done that has changed their view of him? He has been everything they have expected! If Span is moved for a good arm, Revere will THRIVE as the everyday centerfielder. Yes, his arm is weak, but his range is AMAZING! He will let runners advance on him, but his range will more than balance out the lack of an strong arm. Offensively, he has proven it at every level and wasn't exactly terrible in 2011. PLUS, his play-making defense and speed on the basepaths brought an intangible element to this team that it didn't have. The excitement and energy the Twins often seem to lack comes out too often, but Revere's play is exciting and energizes the entire team. Revere has a very good future with our team. Think of Juan Pierre in his prime and the absolute pain in the @ss he was when he was with the Marlins (Revere's arm is stronger than Pierre's though). That is what we will have if he is allowed to play centerfield everyday.
    1. tmerrickkeller's Avatar
      tmerrickkeller -
      The best plan for Revere is the one that didn't happen - Willingham's relocation to RF. When he got moved to LF (and not to say the other factors didn't play into it), Revere was done. When Doumit played RF, Gardy wasn't going to take Span or Willingham's bat out of the lineup in the late innings in anything other than blowout games, or risk not having a backup catcher. When Parmelee or Plouffe plays RF, then maybe Ben gets a chance to come in late in games for defense. The path for BR is based on the Twins valuing defense more than offense (which they don't right now), and either moving Willingham to RF (and my thinking being that if LF is where he's "comfortable" then let's make him uncomfortable, because his effort, throws, and paths to the ball in left is subpar) or full-time DH. I certainly think that a lineup of Span CF, Carroll SS, Mauer C, Willingham RF/DH, Morneau 1B, Valencia 3B, Parmelee/Doumit RF/DH, Dozier 2B, Revere LF is reasonable, and that leaves a bench of some combination of Clete Thomas, Doumit or Parmelee, and Casilla, and then Plouffe, or Burroughs or Hughes.
    1. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
      Fire Dan Gladden -
      Juan Pierre was extremely productive during his prime. If Revere can produce in the majors even close to what he has done in the minors, there will be no more questions about whether he is productive, weak arm or not.
    1. SDsteve's Avatar
      SDsteve -
      True John, but with a piles of outfield talent, we will have someone on the trade block. Revere is a young #1 pick, so if we stay healthy and he isn't playing everyday, it would take a top prospect for him to depart. Kinda looks like the perfect storm? Plouffe, Thomas, Doumit, and at least one other minor leaguer will have to be involved and effective to stay all year. Which guy that gives us that "Tebow" style momentum trade? This is a team with 7 outfield near or in the majors that needs to deal for pitching period.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Do you think Boston would have interest in Revere? How much more would the Twins need to get from Boston in addition to Bowden? How about offering Span for more?
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