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The Revere Experiment: Range vs Arm

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 07:22 AM

One of the things Aaron and I talked about on the podcast last winter was how Twins fans were going to be treated to an experiment of sorts in the outfield this season. Ben Revere has outstanding range but a pretty awful arm - the two extremes. The Twins kicked the experiment up a notch by putting him in right field, where range counts for less and the arm for more. So I've been watching - how many times to I lament Revere's arm vs praise Revere's range? So far, it's absolutely no contest. I'll take the range every time. There have been times that I've grimaced over the occasional extra base, but they don't compare in quantity or in impact to how many times I think Revere's range has saved extra-base hits. But I kind of expected to see that, so I may be biased. I'd like to hear other's opinions, especially because there have been some very vocal critics of Revere's arm on these boards in the past. Am I off base?

#2 Riverbrian

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 07:42 AM

My question is... how many times did you indeed see the extra base taken? Way too much is made out of Bens arm and there were times when it was embellished to the point of silliness. I still think he should be playing left but the arm issue is such a minor thing. OF range every day and twice on Sunday.

#3 eagle

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 07:50 AM

Having a cannon in the outfield is highly overrated, especially those players who have limited range. With Revere, he gets to balls most guys don't, cuts off probable extra base hit opportunities and has really good footwork that allows him to get rid of the ball quickly. I'd take a decent arm with great accuracy over a cannon with mediocre accuracy anyday. How many times during a game do outfielders get a chance to throw a guy out? Maybe every other game?!?

#4 minn55441

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 07:57 AM

John, I think you hit the nail on the head. Range has had a much bigger impact than "the arm". There are no adjustments that came be made to account for range, yet as we have seen many times, the cutoff man has gone way out to help with Ben's arm. There really haven't been too many times that I feel Ben's arm have definitely cost us a base. Span and Ben in the outfield everyday, has really helped our pitching. They really need the help.

#5 gunnarthor

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:29 AM

Yeah, his range is astonishing. And Dozier and Casilla (especially) both have pretty strong arms for MI that help negate a bit of his arm, too.

#6 spideyo

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:40 AM

As long as he can hit the cutoff guy and doesn't just airmail a rainbow to home plate, I'm not worried at all about his arm. There have been quite a few balls that he caught that would have been doubles or triples easily had he missed them (and most likely would've been missed by Doumit/Plouffe/Parmelee/Mauer/Komatsu/Thomas/Mastroianni)

#7 mikeee

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:46 AM

I've kind of thought the range would make up for the throwing arm. Hard to complain when someone is hitting .322 or so as well!!

#8 jorgenswest

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:54 AM

Revere's career in the majors will be determined by his bat. His glove is a plus anywhere in the outfield. Hopefully he increases his walk rate as he develops.

#9 Riverbrian

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:56 AM

I've kind of thought the range would make up for the throwing arm.
Hard to complain when someone is hitting .322 or so as well!!


With the exception of Tags. The reality is that players will take the extra base on an OF like Doumit... More often than Revere. . The reason... Revere gets to the ball faster and in better positin to make a throw with His speed and range. That is what runners use to decide if they are going or not. Where is the OF and where is the ball.

I haven't seen an example of a base gained because of Bens arm this year. There will be some to come (not many) but I haven't seen it yet.

#10 snepp

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:03 AM

I haven't seen an example of a base gained because of Bens arm this year. There will be some to come (not many) but I haven't seen it yet.


And you chastise others for exaggeration?

#11 Riverbrian

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:05 AM

And you chastise others for exaggeration?


I don't see the exaggeration.

#12 stringer bell

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:05 AM

It is outs vs bases. Outs are usually much more important than bases. Once in awhile the extra base really matters, but most of the time the difference is negligiible. The flip side of this is stolen bases--taking an extra base while sometimes giving an out. Most think that base stealers need to be successful at least 70-75% of the time to take that extra base. It would figure that if Revere yields an extra base occasionally while getting several more outs that he is a defensive asset.

#13 drivlikejehu

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:09 AM

His arm is an issue but even in RF, it's probably outweighed 6 or 7 times over by his range. A Span trade wouldn't surprise me as a way to open up center for Revere, where he could have the most impact.

#14 Fire Dan Gladden

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:11 AM

I think the range vs arm factor is not a simple discussion. When the Twins ran Gomez and Span in CF/LF, having Cuddyers cannon in right was probably more of a benefit than having Revere in that same situation. My other question is how you can quantify this? UZR doesn't take into account reputation. Runners were less apt to run on Cuddyer due to his rep with the strong arm. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought you needed quite a bit of time for defensive metrics to be truely accurate (like 1-2 full seasons). Christening the revere experiment a success or failure at this point would be premature. That being said, I like love our outfield as it is constructed, with one caveat: Span is an above average CF, but he was a Gold Glove LF. I believe the gains would be better if you put Revere in CF and moved Span to RF.

#15 jimbo92107

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:22 AM

Another factor to go with having a strong arm is accuracy. Michael Cuddyer's reputation for gunning down runners had as much to do with throwing strikes to second base from deep right field as did the velocity when the ball left his hand. Sadly, Ben Revere's arm is not only relatively weak, but it's also not very accurate. He may never be a threat to throw out a runner rounding first unless he's running in for a ball. Even then you'll have fast runners testing him, because Revere's arm just isn't very accurate, either. That said, I agree with most of the guys that observed how much more important it is to have great range and a good glove than a strong arm. Guys don't go to second if their fly ball gets caught, and we have seen how Revere's range has saved the butts of Twins pitchers in the past. Last year Scott Baker should have sent half his paycheck to Ben Revere... ;-)

#16 Mauerzy4Prez

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:22 AM

I have said all along on multiple different threads here that Revere is a premier player to come, and his speed and instincts in the outfield significantly make up for his lack of arm strength. Anybody that understands how baseball is played and really gets the outfield position, should know that good reads/good angles to the ball/accurate cut off throws/great speed/relentless effort without care for ones body, outweigh a weak arm any day. Now add the fact that the kid can just flat out hit, and we have a piece of the puzzle that needs to be held on to. I probably watch almost every game the Twins play, and have been watching Ben closely ever since comments were made on here about how runners will have no problem at all going from 1st to 3rd on routine singles to right. Not once have I seen a play where a runner advanced to third due to his lack of arm strength. Where are all the Revere haters now?!

#17 Boom Boom

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:37 AM

Range in the outfield always trumps arm strength. Cuddyer's defense in RF was overrated because he had a great arm. But he moved like a wood burning stove out there.

#18 roger

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:48 AM

I agree with your comments John. And doesn't Revere's constant smile say it all?

#19 nokomismod

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:56 AM

Ben Revere has made me a believer in range > arm (not even close). I also will admit that I thought he was a 4th OF and after watching him play the past 2 months, I really like his game.

#20 John Bonnes

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:15 AM

My gawd, what a love fest we have going here. I thought I remembered multiple commenters this spring saying Revere would never make it as an outfielder because of his arm. Am I mis-remebering? Are they just ducking for cover? C'mon, someone out there has to take the other side here. Or has this truth just become that self-evident? Or have some, like nokomosid, changed their minds?

#21 jmlease1

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:27 AM

My gawd, what a love fest we have going here.

I thought I remembered multiple commenters this spring saying Revere would never make it as an outfielder because of his arm. Am I mis-remebering? Are they just ducking for cover? C'mon, someone out there has to take the other side here. Or has this truth just become that self-evident?

Or have some, like nokomosid, changed their minds?


I think some of the people questioning Revere's chances were partly including him not getting to play CF because of Span and questioning if he could hit enough to play elsewhere, so some of the arm issues may have been more the "final straw" if you will.

I've always believed range is more important than arm; range has both greater impact and greater frequency of impact than arm strength. My biggest beef is that Revere isn't playing CF, where we'd get the greatest benefit from his incredible range and the least penalty from his poor arm. Span is a fine CF, but he's also a superior LF, and Willingham's issues in the field wouldn't be any worse in RF. Our best defensive OF alignment is Span in LF, Revere in CF, and Willingham in RF. but we don't have it because Gardy prefers to cater to our players' mindset over best results on the field. Do we really believe Span and Willingham would suddenly drop off significantly if they were asked to play where it'd be best for the team over what they like the best?

#22 Seth Stohs

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:36 AM

First, I still think that Revere makes more sense in LF with Willingham in RF (or DH)... However, it is pretty clear that the range is much more important than the arm. I don't notice extra bases being taken too often, not enough to find it upsetting. I'll admit being wrong (it happens a lot, I'm sure!).

#23 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:42 AM

Some points: 1. Revere's arm has, and will, cost the Twins a base here and there. His arm is truly awful. But, range makes up for some of that. Maybe all of it. And opposing teams go 1st to 3rd sometimes on every right fielder, so it's not a zero sum game. 2. However, the "he can't play right field" crowd has always been wrong. First, while arm strength is slightly more important in RF than LF, again it's not a zero sum game. It's not like his arm won't cost bases in left, too. Second, "his range counts for less in RF" is incorrect. That makes no sense. His "range" is the same in right as left. In fact, his range might account for more outs in right, since more balls are hit to right than left. 3. I was one of the people who was convinced Revere was going to end up a 4th outfielder, but based on his offense not his arm. I admit to having doubts about my position. If he can hit like he has, he can be an asset as a starting OFer.

Edited by USAFChief, 05 July 2012 - 10:46 AM.


#24 Highabove

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:08 AM

There is another reason why I am appreciative of Revere. Watching a parade of waver wire pickups in right field was starting to get painful. I can see the Clete Thomas's of the world at Saint Paul Saints games.

#25 spideyo

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:12 AM

Some points:

1. Revere's arm has, and will, cost the Twins a base here and there. His arm is truly awful. But, range makes up for some of that. Maybe all of it. And opposing teams go 1st to 3rd sometimes on every right fielder, so it's not a zero sum game.

2. However, the "he can't play right field" crowd has always been wrong. First, while arm strength is slightly more important in RF than LF, again it's not a zero sum game. It's not like his arm won't cost bases in left, too. Second, "his range counts for less in RF" is incorrect. That makes no sense. His "range" is the same in right as left. In fact, his range might account for more outs in right, since more balls are hit to right than left.

3. I was one of the people who was convinced Revere was going to end up a 4th outfielder, but based on his offense not his arm. I admit to having doubts about my position. If he can hit like he has, he can be an asset as a starting OFer.



Y'know, factoring the offense into the equation is an important aspect too. If Ben continues to hit and run like he's been doing, I think any extra bases he gives up because of his arm will be cancelled out by all the extra bases he'll take on the offense.

#26 ashburyjohn

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:35 AM

all the extra bases he'll take on the offense.


Any stats to back that up? Presumably they would be for bases taken when the next guys are hitting; because, at the moment, Ben has a grand total of 6 doubles and 2 triples for the season, for the extra bases gained all on his own.

Given all his speed, you'd expect a much greater level of legged-out doubles, and maybe an inside-the-park HR by now, so it's pretty clear that nearly all his hits are of the punch-and-judy variety, and thus don't give his speed much chance to shine.

This thread started with a look at Revere's arm versus range, and has now broadened to his total game. With an OPS of only .725, it's still a pretty ordinary production level for RF. Adequate yes, and I didn't expect even this much from him, so I'm cheerfully ready to admit I was wrong to peg him as 4th OF for this season, and he's young so we can hope for more and more improvement. But it's a little soon to anoint him as an asset versus his league competition yet, in a lineup with too many table setters and not enough all-around hitters.

I still haven't seen any stats mentioned that show bases taken against right fielders. Is it really the case that league-wide Revere is not showing up as markedly worse at this than other players?

#27 spideyo

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:46 AM

I wasn't thinking of extra bases hits, I was thinking of the stolen bases, and the singles that would have been easy outs for a lot of other guys. If he can beat out an ugly bunt for a single, steal 2b, and then score on a single to the outfield, that easily cancels out a guy going from 1st-3rd instead of from 1st-2nd

#28 Kris James Kulsrud

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:47 AM

My gawd, what a love fest we have going here.

I thought I remembered multiple commenters this spring saying Revere would never make it as an outfielder because of his arm. Am I mis-remebering? Are they just ducking for cover? C'mon, someone out there has to take the other side here. Or has this truth just become that self-evident?

Or have some, like nokomosid, changed their minds?


Oh hell yeah, I'll take the other side of this. There is no way that Revere should be playing right field and I bet anyone who is having a Ben Revere love fest that the second we lose a 1 run game with a sac fly to right field you all will change your tune. Is Revere a good player? Yeah. But we should trade him before the season is done and keep our CF who is team controlled for the next couple of years and hits for AVG, OBP, and has good range and an ARM in CF. Trade Revere for a starter. Let him go play CF in a park where he might have a chance of throwing the ball to the infield instead of bouncing every throw about 50 feet from the dirt.

I think our OF would be much better suited with Willingham in RF and Revere in LF... but that won't happen. Trade Revere, let Parmalee roam in RF and hopefully you get a decent pitching prospect for Revere or maybe even a #3 or #4 guy to help out this year...

Also, I am very sick and tired of every time Revere dives for a ball, or falls after catching a ball, or runs into the wall, or does a somersault after catching a ball that everyone goes on calling it the greatest catch in baseball history. He's fast, and gets to many balls other guys can't... but to usurp a guy like Span who does everything Revere does plus hits for occasional power, and has a decent arm he has a LONG way to go and until he can do it, I don't want him taking Denard's spot.

p.s. Let's not forget that what we are seeing out of Revere right now AVG wise might not stay true... he has shown spurts of this throughout the year but has yet to put it all together consistently for a season...

#29 Jocko87

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:48 AM

Y'know, factoring the offense into the equation is an important aspect too. If Ben continues to hit and run like he's been doing, I think any extra bases he gives up because of his arm will be cancelled out by all the extra bases he'll take on the offense.


I've been more frustrated the year with Revere not taking the extra base much more often than giving one up because of the arm. Somebody mentioned earlier that everybody goes first to third, I say except for Revere. I don't know what it is but it doesn't seem like the baserunning is nearly as good as it should be for someone with his speed.

I just picked through some stats, Revere has gotten first to third 3 times in 17 chances this year. For comparison, Prince Fielder is 4/21 with 2 throw outs.

To answer the question, the arm hasn't bothered me at all while there are a couple of games won strictly because of his range.

#30 greengoblinrulz

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:48 AM

No surprise that MN good play since May 7 has come with the team ditching the RF by committee & goin with Ben out there which offsets Josh's defense (which has been very good since April). The difference between last 5 yrs of Cuddy/Kubel in RF vs the early 2012 RFs vs Revere is pretty severe....both from watching the game & from defensive metrics. Kubel/Cuddy were 2 of the games worst defensive OF over a several yr run. Cuddy's arm rep was more a MN thing. He has an above average arm, but was never someone others refused to run on....ala Choo or Suzuki. Best part of Ben's arm is he realizes his limitations & isnt ashamed anymore. Hits the cutoff religiously & quickly....doesnt try to trick the runner into taking the base as players with good arms do. With Buxton, Benson, Hicks all in minors....they are all 3 considered Gold Glove caliber gloves with all around defense....Revere in RF esp & CF probably isnt gonna last long....he will be in his natural LF soon enough.