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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.