Ben Revere’s Costly Arm

Ben Revere is known for having a weak bat, but as we have seen during this series with the Pittsburgh Pirates (which mercifully ends this afternoon), his weak arm is often a detriment as well. In parsing the game logs, I was able to pull out three plays where opposing runners greedily advanced from second to third on a ball hit to Revere in center, something those runners certainly wouldn’t have done against, say, Shane Victorino.

April 7 vs. Kansas City Royals

April 22 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

April 23 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

I emailed the good folks over at Baseball Info Solutions and they were able to compile defensive stats involving Revere’s arm.

Their explanation was very thorough, so I will simply copy it here (note: 8 denotes center field, 9 denotes right field):

The first three sets of rows show you how often runners could advance and did advance from first to third on a single, from first to home on a double, and from second to home on a single with Revere as the primary defender compared to the entire league at his positions.

Player Pos AdvOpps FirstToThirdRate
Ben Revere 8 67 40.3%
Ben Revere 9 33 33.3%

 

Player Pos AdvOpps FirstToHomeRate
Ben Revere 8 16 75.0%
Ben Revere 9 14 42.9%

 

Player Pos AdvOpps SecondToHomeRate
Ben Revere 8 54 85.2%
Ben Revere 9 24 66.7%

The fourth set of rows combines those and produces a good sample. With Revere in center field, he has allowed 5.7% more runners take an extra base compared to the league. In right field, he has allowed 3.3% fewer runners take an extra base compared to league average.

Player Pos AdvOpps CombinedExtraBaseRate
Ben Revere 8 137 62.0%
Ben Revere 9 71 46.5%

The final set of rows shows you how frequently Revere and the league have recorded kills, which are unassisted throw outs of runners trying to advance. In both center and right field, Revere has fewer kills relative to innings played that an average defender at his position.

Player Pos Kills Innings per Kill
Ben Revere 8 6 211
Ben Revere 9 3 248

If you’re looking for an easier summary, OF Arms Runs Saved is one of our components of Defensive Runs Saved for outfielders. In addition to the actual advancements allowed and kills in the spreadsheet, OF Arms Runs Saved takes into account additional factors such as batted ball location and synthesizes them into a holistic measure of value in runs compared to other defenders at a position.

Since 2011, Revere has cost his teams 3 runs in center field with his arm and 1 run in right field. Overall, Revere has cost his teams 3 runs in center field and saved them 13 runs in right. In right field, his range makes up for his poor arm to a much greater extent compared to other right fielders.

If you are interested in how center and right fielders have fared overall, here are the associated stats:

Player Pos AdvOpps FirstToThirdRate
All Players 8 3629 33.2%
All Players 9 3929 44.3%
Player Pos AdvOpps FirstToHomeRate
All Players 8 1277 62.7%
All Players 9 1439 38.8%
Player Pos AdvOpps SecondToHomeRate
All Players 8 3342 78.9%
All Players 9 2823 63.3%
Player Pos AdvOpps CombinedExtraBaseRate
All Players 8 8248 56.3%
All Players 9 8191 49.8%
Player Pos Kills Innings per Kill
All Players 8 538 171
All Players 9 792 110

The Phillies can’t move Revere to right field because they have no one else capable of filling the position, but even if they could, it would not be worth it because Revere’s weak bat plays so much better in center than in right. Last year, National League center fielders posted a .318 wOBA while right fielders posted a .331 mark. Revere’s .300 wOBA in 2012 would have been only six percent below the league average for center fielders compared to nine percent for right fielders. In terms of runs over Revere’s 553 PA, he was -8 runs below average in center and -14 runs in right. Of course, this assumes that Revere’s 2012 season — one of his two full seasons and his best of those two — is indicative of his actual talent, which is questionable, but it is at least a proxy.

Though the trade that brought Ben Revere to Philly was sound — he will be cheap and under team control through 2017 — he still has much to improve upon. Players have thrived on speed and speed alone, but they are few and far between. The Phillies shouldn’t count on Revere being able to provide surplus value via base running and range in center, because one bad injury can bankrupt his value. And he could, for any random reason, have a down year in either facet, in which case he would become a liability instead of breaking even or providing above-average value.

Revere is a player with good upside and he turns 25 on May 3. He still has plenty of time to blossom into the type of player GM Ruben Amaro envisioned when he pulled the trigger on the deal with the Minnesota Twins back in December.

Thanks again to Ben Jedlovec (@BenJedlovec) and Scott Spratt (@PFF_ScottSpratt) of Baseball Info Solutions for the information.

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13 comments

  1. Richard

    April 25, 2013 07:44 AM

    I’m curious to what extent Revere’s arm is offset by his general play in center. That is, if he’s a plus-plus fielder (which he was in right in Minnesota), is not his arm already factored into that?

    On the other hand, if he has an off year defensively, so that he’s only sorta plus, or average, that arm isn’t going to make up for anything.

    I wasn’t expecting much from his bat, something between an 85 and 95 wRC+, maybe more if things go right, but wow have things not gone right in the early going for him. Ks and grounders (remarkably) way up, very few infield singles (3?), double plays, poor discipline (I wasn’t expecting him to walk much, but his decisions to swing on first pitch on certain occasions have been highly questionable, given the pitcher’s wildness and his own slumping), etc. Oy.

  2. Jay

    April 25, 2013 08:31 AM

    So….he can’t throw and his career numbers show he can’t hit. Please give me a reason why when Young comes back that Revere should be anything more than a pinch runner. Also, why does Manual continue to leave him in the game in RBI situations?

    Mayberry is a better choice in center field.

  3. SJHaack

    April 25, 2013 08:54 AM

    @Jay

    Because he’s the best center fielder on the team, and Delmon Young’s arm at an easier position is EVEN WORSE. Revere has speed for days that in the long run make up for his reads off the bat and somewhat weaker arm. Delmon Young has a shit arm to go along with no glove, no speed, and no instincts.

  4. NavyJoe

    April 25, 2013 09:25 AM

    Bill,

    At what OBP does Revere’s baserunning ability become relevant?

    Also, does his position in the batting order have any effect on his potential contribution as a baserunner? I assume that if he is batting 8th (reasonable assumption when Chooch returns), he will have fewer opportunities to provide a positive impact on the bases since the pitcher’s spot will be coming up and there will be fewer opportunities to steal go 1st to 3rd. Last year, when he was an elite base runner, he either led off or batted second for the bulk of his starts.

  5. Bill Baer

    April 25, 2013 09:30 AM

    Base running ability is always relevant. He was the second-best base runner in baseball last year with a .333 OBP. If you wanted to assume, say, a .300 OBP for this year and all other things being equal, you could cut the stats in the above link I posted by 3%.

  6. LTG

    April 25, 2013 09:32 AM

    NavyJoe,

    Do you mean something like this:

    At what OBP does Revere’s above average baserunning make up for his below average hitting?

  7. LTG

    April 25, 2013 09:32 AM

    In other words, what is the break-even point?

  8. NavyJoe

    April 25, 2013 10:34 AM

    LTG,

    Yes, I suppose that is what I meant. And while I accept that baserunning is always relevant, if his OBP is down (which it is) and if he is batting lower in the lineup (which he is and probably will continue to be), then he is going to have considerably fewer opportunities to take advantage of that particular skill set.

    For example, the Phillies lead-off hitters had a total of 749 PAs last year. Their 8th hitter and 631 PAs. For a guy with a .330 OBP, he would be on base around 40 more times over the course of the season by batting leadoff, as opposed to 8th.

  9. Jonny5

    April 25, 2013 12:49 PM

    I like Mayberry in CF. Who cares if typically light hitting OF’s normally patrol center? I don’t give a damn. Revere has a horrible arm and if you swap Mayberry for Revere, Rf for Cf, the team projects better in runs saved. It doesn’t hurt, it helps. Also, I said before and I’ll say it again, Dom Brown and Young should make a nice pair in Lf as a platoon until one proves his worth over the other. I don’t have time to look up Mayberry’s defensive stats, but I’d venture to say he did an above adequate job in Cf from my memory of the past.

  10. T. Martin

    April 25, 2013 12:52 PM

    I’m not a fan of Revere’s and certainly not an apologist on his behalf but he does get to some balls that other guys simply don’t. Not just catches but stuff that would otherwise go to the wall and allow runners to take an extra base. That being said, he’s also doubled off at least two runners after making a catch. So his defensive metrics need to be viewed with those factors in mind. Again, I’m not a fan of his but he’s also not the only reason they’re below .500 right now.

  11. Cutter McCool

    April 25, 2013 10:53 PM

    Couldn’t the Phils have converted the Vanimal into a CF? Guaranteed he’d hit for more power.

  12. Wildcatward

    April 30, 2013 12:32 PM

    Wouldn’t this part:
    “In terms of runs over Revere’s 553 PA, he was -8 runs below average in center and -14 runs in right.”
    become irrelevant if the players on the field don’t change (i.e. Revere plays right & Mayberry plays Center instead of vice versa)? If the starting 8 isn’t going to change (granted, that is a different argument altogether)wouldn’t a better way to look at it is to maximize dWAR for those 8 rather than bringing in his overall WAR into the argument b/c Revere’s oWAR shouldn’t affect his dWAR

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