Ben Revere Has Been Okay

Ben Revere was worth 3.1 Wins Above Replacement last season, according to FanGraphs. Baseball Reference pegs him at 2.6. This year, FanGraphs has him at 0.3 and Baseball Reference 0.5. In many ways, 2013 has been a disappointment for both Revere and for Phillies fans who had anticipated seeing their 25-year-old centerfielder of the future make progress. A slow April that left Revere among the three worst hitters in baseball didn’t help matters.

Due to the way media coverage works, we tend to think of player progression as a straight, continuously rising line through about age 30. Often, it looks more like a parabola: progress, followed by adversity, followed by progress, followed by adversity. A year after winning the AL Rookie of the Year in 1999, Royals outfielder Carlos Beltran finished with a .675 OPS. Braves shortstop Rafael Furcal went from 4.0 WAR (Baseball Reference) in his Rookie of the Year award-winning 2000 season to 0.2 the next season. Those are only a couple examples involving high-profile players; there are hundreds of examples every year.

Though Revere has been less valuable to the Phillies than he was to the Twins last year, and he has only been marginally above-average overall, his 2013 season is heartening. He posted a .712 OPS in May and .805 in June, shockingly. In fact, his .352 wOBA in June exceeded that of B.J. Upton, Shin-Soo Choo, Desmond Jennings, Michael Bourn, and Denard Span, among other center fielders. Additionally, after stealing a combined 10 bases in 13 attempts in April and May, he stole 10 in 14 attempts in June alone. Only five players in baseball have stolen more bases than Revere overall.

It must be pointed out that Revere has only been passable in terms of base-stealing efficiency (74%) and has taken a step back defensively. He has at times displayed the range for which he was lauded in Minnesota, but he has cost the Phillies on multiple occasions due to subpar decision-making and instincts, like this:

Fortunately, though, it’s teachable. Revere turns 26 years old next May 3. His most often cited comparable player, Michael Bourn, had posted seasons of -0.2, 0.3, and -0.7 WAR (Baseball Reference) prior to a breakout 3.8 in his age-26 season. In those seasons, Baseball Reference rated him as 0, +6, and +1 runs in the field, but +11 in that 3.8-WAR season (and +30 the next season as well). He improved several points in base running efficiency while improving both the rate and quality of contact at the plate. There is no guarantee that Revere’s career will follow the same path, but it has been done before.

Revere may seem like one of the more replaceable parts of the Phillies’ roster, but he is actually quite a valuable piece of a changing core of players. Earning a meager $515,000 in 2013, he will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season. He won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2017 season, meaning the Phillies will have the opportunity to allow Revere to blossom as a player over the next four and a half seasons at a price that allows them the financial flexibility to bolster the roster in other areas.

Leave a Reply



  1. CB

    July 03, 2013 08:41 AM

    Completely unrelated to the topic, but I would also like to point out that Howard’s OPS is only 33 points higher than Delmon Young’s.

  2. JM

    July 03, 2013 08:50 AM

    If RAJ were a good GM, he would extend him on something like 4 yrs $7m. Good Pay raise for Revere, but also avoiding arbitration which could skyrocket his salary per yr if…if he does eventually breakout…

  3. JM

    July 03, 2013 08:51 AM

    related but unrelated. Imagine what our young runners coud do if they had Davey Lopes teaching them the art of base stealing…

  4. Steve

    July 03, 2013 09:43 AM

    No way would revere sign a 4/7mil contract. If he ends up at 0.5 WAR, he can argue he is worth 2.5mil and could probably expect in the 1.5 to 2.0 mil range. If he were to have a breakout year, as BB and Eric both seem to believe is possible, he would garner a substantial arbitration award and when was the last guy you saw go to arbitration and take a pay cut. As I am not sold on his ability to handle CF, wait a year and let him show us he is willing to work to get better.

  5. adam

    July 03, 2013 09:57 AM

    Nice short and positive article.
    I’m happy to have him on the cheap with how young he is. He’s never gonna be Shane Victorino but with a little more developing on defense and fine tuning on the basepaths he will be a nice complimentary player going forward as the phillies, hopefully, look to rebuild.

  6. Phillie697

    July 03, 2013 10:39 AM


    He can’t argue that because he’s 5 years from sniffing FA, therefore he can’t argue he’s worth FA rates. That is why teams sign players young, when they have little leverage. Even in arbitration very few players get FA rates.

  7. JM

    July 03, 2013 10:42 AM

    @Steve a 4/7m contract would be $1.75m/yr. I thank you for argueing my point while also disagreeing with it. Of course he would get a substantial arbitration raise if he broke out. That is why I said a GOOD GM would wrap him up on the cheap to avoid arbitration. Will it happen? probably not. RAJ is not a good GM, and players will always gamble that they can get better and earn a bigger payday. It helps that he is making close to the league minimum now, so a 300% pay raise guaranteed over 4 yrs might be enticing enough to sign…again we will probably never know since Math is not RAJ’s strong point…

  8. Scott G

    July 03, 2013 11:11 AM

    I’m not really familiar with arbitration values, but won’t Revere probably out-earn that 4/7m contract in arbitration? Wouldn’t that make him less likely to sign that contract especially considering he is batting so much better of late?

  9. nik

    July 03, 2013 12:01 PM

    I’m mostly disappointed with the defense. We knew the arm was a noodle, but the poor route running has come as a surprise.

  10. Kevin H

    July 03, 2013 12:12 PM

    I’m not sure I see much upside for Revere. Opponents are literally gleefully taking advantage of his noodle arm. At the plate, opponents pitch him as if he is a pitcher feeding him fastballs down the middle. He then slaps it around and sees what comes of it. If he were to start doing damage someday, they’ll start pitching him tougher. I just don’t see him having much value. There isn’t really anything he is good at. But he’s cheap.

  11. Dante

    July 03, 2013 12:14 PM

    Don’t forget, basically none of Revere’s tools pay well in arb. Power, RBIs, awards pay, and he has little of that. He will be boosted a bit by games played and steals, but that’s it. He actually will be quite cheap in arbitration, so giving him an extension is not neccessarily viable.

    BTW, I think a better comp than Bourn is Juan Pierre, as I don’t think Revere will be quite as good as Bourn in CF with regard to instincts and especially throwing arm.

  12. Eric Longenhagen

    July 03, 2013 12:31 PM

    On Revere’s defense:

    I’ve been defending him all year. I need to get see if BIS will let me look at hit locations on balls we have him charted as misplaying. Anecdotally, I bet he’s much beter coming in on balls than he is going back on them. I’d like to see Charlie have him play deeper, even though that may not be the most efficient thing since, you know….the fence doesn’t move.

  13. Larry

    July 03, 2013 12:33 PM

    “Ben Revere Has Been Okay”

    That sums up the Phillies season, average, OK, etc. With this payroll, those words are bad.

    If we’re going to move forward with Ben Revere, then lets put him in a position to help the team. Let’s face it, the guy has no arm in center field. Instead of trying to get in front of the ball, he tries to catch the ball Willie Mays style which doesn’t often work.

    Conclusion- Lets put him in left field, where he would be much more effective, this is where most teams put their weakest arm anyway. He would run balls down faster and wouldn’t have to use the Willie Mays catch as much. Move Dom Brown back to right field.

    Revere hitting 7th in the lineup hurts our run production. He has absolutely 0 power and doesn’t get many extra base hits. This is bad, because the 7th hole hitter needs to drive in the middle of the order guys. Even if he singles and steals second, your eighth hole hitter Carlos Ruiz only has 4 RBIS in 91 at bats with a horrible 154 RISP.

    Conclusion- Teach him how to be more patient at the plate. If he draws more walks, his obp will rise. Now we can put him in the lead off spot. He would be way more effective there with his base stealing and his slap hitting batting style. Move Jroll to 7th- he’s been out of position for 4 seasons now and it finally caught up with the team last year.

  14. Richard

    July 03, 2013 01:23 PM

    Larry, Larry, Larry. How to begin!

    I’ll begin at the end: Revere’s patience is not a problem. Rather, his low walk rate is not a product of poor plate discipline, but rather a high contact rate. Last I checked, he saw more balls in the zone than just about anyone, and did not swing out of the zone very often.

    I maintain that hitting 7th is actually a good use of his speed. We had a big discussion about this here some time ago. Perhaps you saw it:

    Moving Revere off of centerfield basically ruins his value, since he does not have sufficient power for those positions. But understanding that might require you to understand something of what goes into WAR calculations.

    Further, I know people are all up in arms about Revere’s, um, arm, but it’s overblown. In the past, he was rated plus plus in the field. That takes his arm into account. And this year, folks may be surprised to learn that UZR in any case rates his arm positively (while not overall positively rating his defense, at least this year; all SSS UZR caveats apply, naturally).

  15. Larry

    July 03, 2013 01:56 PM

    @ Richard,
    I guess The Pirates with the best record in baseball have their center fielder and right fielder out of position. How’s that working out for them??? Hurry up and tell them to change it, since it’s hurting their war stats in the outfield. lmfao

    “And this year, folks may be surprised to learn that UZR in any case rates his arm positively”

    Richard this is what happens when you focus on things like UZR. Any Phillie fan who watches the games knows Ben Revere has one of the worst arms in center field in all of baseball. Use your eyes Richard, watch the games.

    I can’t even believe that someone is trying to tell me that Ben’s arm….forget it….even the announcers who are biased for our team say Ben’s arm is weak. Sorry Richard, you lost me with Ben’s positive rating on his arm.

  16. Larry

    July 03, 2013 02:27 PM

    Another thing about Revere in the 7th hole. He’s your fastest guy and the guy who is gonna steal more bases than anyone on this roster. If there are 1 or 2 outs and he gets on base, these scenarios will easily happen.

    A. There are 2 outs, he steals second, but then the opposing pitcher walks our 8th hole hitter intentionally to get to our pitcher. Likely outcome is end of inning.

    B. Ben is on 1st with 1 out and our 8th hole hitter gets out, maybe it was a pop up, fly out, or strikeout. Now what is Ben to do?? His speed (his best asset)can’t be utilized. Let’s say he takes off and gets caught stealing, then our pitcher leads off next inning??? This is not where he should be, keep in mind he has no power to drive in the middle of the lineup. It’s better to bench Revere than have him bat 7th. He loses his value.

  17. Richard

    July 03, 2013 02:27 PM

    Looks like I lost you from the beginning, Larry.

    What in the hell are you even talking about with your remark about the Pirates? You’re literally making no sense whatsoever, and obviously did not understand my point in the least. My only point is that Revere’s offense plays much better in center. That he’s not as good at the plate as Andrew McCutcheon is irrelevant. (Nor is it relevant that Travis Snider is a bad hitter, either.)

    And I did NOT say one should rely on UZR, I merely said that people may be surprised to learn that he has a positive arm rating this year. What that means is we should be interested in finding out how that might be.

    Nor did I say anything about the strength of his arm. What I said was that the negative value of his apparently weak throwing arm is over-stated.

    Now I breathlessly await your blatant incomprehension of this comment.

  18. Steve

    July 03, 2013 02:43 PM

    JM, I was not arguing your point as I don’t think Ben would ever sign a 4/7 mil contract. I don’t know if I would in his position. Offer him 4/12 mil and I could see getting it done BUT, I don’t like Ben even a little so I would rather let him play out his year and see what he produces next year. He won’t see MB numbers but MB’s 1st arbitration year he rec’d 2.5 mil and 4.5 mil the 2nd year. Ben is a stopgap player until we either get a FA to play CF or we have a player develop in the minors. Let him play out year to year and sign and trade him when you are ready to give him a plane ticket.

  19. Steve

    July 03, 2013 02:47 PM

    Richard, Ben’s arm sucks, even Eric agrees that it is, by far, his weakest assest (and that is saying something). Ben had a positive UZR in 2011 in CF in LIMITED playing time and in 2012 ALL OF HIS POSITIVE UZR came from his RF playing time. Even the Twins saw him as the lesser CF between DS and BR. His defense actually played well in RF but his bat is weak for RF. We’ll see if they can teach Ben to stop misjudging the ball off the bat. I am sceptical.

  20. Richard

    July 03, 2013 02:55 PM

    Steve, I didn’t say Ben had a good arm. I’m saying it’s interesting that his arm rating is positive this year. Is that not interesting? Curious? Maybe it’s not a rating of how “strong” his arm is? Isn’t anyone the least bit curious?

    But notice what you said there, too, about his positive value in Minnesota coming from his play in RF. How can this be if his arm is such a problem? Is it not possible that a player with sufficient other defensive skills can overcome a weak throwing arm? Is this not in fact exactly what I said?

    My god.

  21. LTG

    July 03, 2013 03:09 PM

    The positive evaluation by UZR of his arm is due to those fluky double-up assists he had earlier in the year. That doesn’t undermine the actual value his throws have provided (insert caveats about UZR samples here). But it does undermine the inference that Revere will have repeated above-average throwing arm seasons. Of course, I don’t take Richard to be advocating that inference at all. He’s just asking a good question. I hope I’ve answered it.

  22. Larry

    July 03, 2013 03:14 PM

    “My only point is that Revere’s offense plays much better in center.”

    Breaking news- Baseball teams can now score runs when they aren’t batting. lol

    If Travis Snider was playing center and McCutcheon was in right, but they switched because it made more sense defensively, you would say “Oh no that shouldn’t be, because it would hurt Snider’s WAR, Or Right field is not good for Snyder’s offense”

    Here’s another one. How about the 1st place Redsox. How dare they move Shane Victorino to right field, his offense would be better in center. lol These 1st place teams have no idea what they are doing right?

    What about the Orioles, how dare their best power hitter in the outfield (Davis is infielder) be in center field instead of right field or left field?

    If this helps the team better defensively then it should be done. DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE TO YOU RICHARD???

    “What that means is we should be interested in finding out how that might be.”

    Nice way to back out of your statement. Nice try though. Out of the blue you just decided to challenge UZR?? I think not, you were trying to compliment his arm.

  23. Richard

    July 03, 2013 03:18 PM

    My god, Larry. Not only can’t you read, but you’re an asshole about it.

    You’re not worth talking to.

  24. Richard

    July 03, 2013 03:25 PM

    Thanks for that, LTG. I thought it might be something about his speed allowing him to get balls in faster despite his weak arm (somehow), but wasn’t sure how they’d calculate such a thing. I really didn’t know. I was surprised by the positive rating. What you said hadn’t occurred to me.

  25. Larry

    July 03, 2013 03:30 PM

    Basically what everyone is saying is if Ben played right or left field, he would have less ground to cover when he misjudges a ball. His speed would catch up to it faster and make the out as opposed to too much ground to cover in center if he misjudges a ball. I’m not downing you Richard, but I hope you can understand that concept.

    With his arm, I feel left field would be the best spot for him. Remember he doesn’t play offense in the field. I know what you are saying about that you would like power hitters in certain positions, but sometimes it makes much more sense defensively.

    3rd base is supposed to be a power hitting position, but the 2008 Phillies had power hitters in other positions. 3rd base was a defensive position that year. The result was a World series win.

  26. Steve

    July 03, 2013 03:34 PM

    Richard, point taken regarding his arm, as with all defensive metrics they play against the other people playing that position so I too find it interesting that playing RF gave him such a defensive boost. Than again, when you factor in people like BJ Upton and DY in RF, his ability to get to balls in a smaller area gets higher marks and must overcome the lack of arm strength.

  27. Steve

    July 03, 2013 03:35 PM

    Sorry, LTG, did not see your comment

  28. Larry

    July 03, 2013 03:36 PM

    “Larry, Larry, Larry. How to begin!”

    ” But understanding that might require “you” to understand something of what goes into WAR calculations.”

    You were the one in attack mode buddy. If you don’t want to be talked down to then don’t start talking down to people 1st.

  29. Richard

    July 03, 2013 03:39 PM

    No, Larry, I understand you fine. I didn’t say a single thing about whether he’d be a better defensive fielder in left or right as opposed to center. Certainly so far in his career, he has been.

    What I’m saying is, if Revere can’t play center, he’s likely not worth having on the team at all. Maybe it’d be different if the Phillies had a lot more offensive weapons, so they can afford to have a weak bat in left. But they don’t have that situation. I’m sure Jimmy Rollins can play first base just fine. But you don’t want a guy with his bat playing first.

    As for his arm, which I in no way was complimenting, no matter what you might think, I find it further curious that when he rated so well in RF for Minnesota last year, he had a positive arm rating then, too. Looking into it further, I found these two comments from MGL, whose baby UZR is:

    Does not appear to be likely that what LTG suggest above is correct, since those flukey double plays would have been easy outs for any outfielder – unless, of course, we account for the fact that because of his speed, he was able to not only make one out but two on the same play, and that his physical arm, as such, as relatively little to do with it. Which is pretty much what I was saying in the first place.

  30. JM

    July 03, 2013 03:43 PM

    I hate the whole “value by position” theory. You don’t have to hit home runs to be valuable. You have to get on base and play defense. If he is going to play, and his defense plays better in another position…move him. I don’t care what teh league average LF/CF/C/2B hits. I care that the team wins with the guys playing…

  31. JM

    July 03, 2013 03:45 PM

    @ Steve,
    We’re good. I don’t think he signs that 4/7 contract either, but it is the smart GM play. and I think 4/12 is too much for Revere until he shows positive progression. I don’t think he is a stopgap either. he is under control for too long, and the Phillies have no one on the radar that comes clos economically or on the farm to fill in. if they did, Victorino or Bourne would be back in Red Pinstripes…

  32. Larry

    July 03, 2013 03:56 PM

    @ JM,
    “I hate the whole “value by position” theory. You don’t have to hit home runs to be valuable. You have to get on base and play defense. If he is going to play, and his defense plays better in another position…move him. I don’t care what teh league average LF/CF/C/2B hits. I care that the team wins with the guys playing…”

    100 percent agree

  33. Chris S.

    July 03, 2013 04:01 PM

    The thing that Revere has is his speed, which plays so well in CF. If he can learn to run better routes to balls there is no reason to think he can’t be an elite defender in CF. Revere is not a super star what he is, is a cheap, but valuable role player which every championship team needs. I loved the Revere trade at the time and I still love it.

  34. #PhilliesTalk

    July 03, 2013 04:07 PM

    Ben Revere: .651

    The Choo-Choo Train’s OPS is .878

    Shin-Soo Choo is a STUD

    Ben Revere is baseball GARBAGE.

    Ben Revere is nothing more than a pinch runner.

    Ben Revere must go. He cannot start for the Phillies. This is his last season here. He’s going where he belongs, into the garbage can.

    If you disagree even a little bit with this analysis I can never have any respect for your opinion about anything that concerns baseball because you have demonstrated a shocking level of incompetence.

    The Choo-Choo Train is the answer for the Phillies beginning next year. He is a walk machine. He represents the end of the no-OBP Amaro nightmare. There is nothing to discuss or debate. The Phillies must sit down with Scott Boras, end their Thirty Years War with Boras and sign The Choo-Choo Train to play CF.

    Then the Phillies need to buy a corner outfielder who can hit with power.

    The Phillies TV deal will be for at least Five BILLION Dollars. Money is NOT an issue.

  35. Chris S.

    July 03, 2013 04:21 PM

    No they need to sign Choo to play RF which happens to be a need for the Phillies. Choo plays better defense in RF and he still has enough power for his bat to profile there. Brown, Revere, and Choo would be a pretty stellar OF lineup.

  36. Chris S.

    July 03, 2013 04:24 PM

    However, the other argument against Choo is that he is turning 31 in just 10 days and it would be another aging veteran and on the open market he could easily command 5 years in the BJ Upton range of 75 Million. After further thought maybe he is not the guy we want to sign.

  37. Larry

    July 03, 2013 04:34 PM

    @ Chris S,
    “Brown, Revere, and Choo would be a pretty stellar OF lineup.”

    It’s difficult for me to see “Revere” and “Stellar” in the same sentence.

    Brown, Victorino, and Choo would be a stellar outfield.

    According to ESPN 1 day ago- Victorino’s defense paying dividends
    BOSTON — Among the reasons the Red Sox want Shane Victorino on the field as much as possible is this: He leads all American League right fielders in DWAR, also known as Defensive Wins Above Replacement Player, with a 1.

  38. #PhilliesTalk

    July 03, 2013 06:48 PM

    The Cincinnati Reds are playing .571 baseball with the Choo-Choo Train in Cf.

    Choo was traded for specifically to play CF for the Reds.

    I have watched Choo when the Phillies have played the Reds and some games on ESPN. Choo is clearly a superior center fielder to Ben Revere.

    In fact, on a 20 – 80 scouting scale, Ben Revere is a 30 while Choo is a 50. Choo’s arm is strong and deadly from CF while Revere’s arm is not even a 20. Going back on balls and charging balls Revere is horrible, while Choo is at least MLB average.

    Choo is a CF STUD. He’s worth a 5 year $80mil deal and the Phillies can afford $90 million.

  39. Phillie697

    July 03, 2013 10:53 PM

    Watch out Richard, Larry will start to call you silly too. The horror! ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. Larry

    July 03, 2013 11:39 PM

    @ Instigator697,

    Happy 4th of July!!

  41. Rafi

    July 04, 2013 04:15 PM


    Is a stud outfielder who is 32 years old what the Phillies want? I’d prefer a young, controllable, cheap CF who can learn than an old expensive one. Also, Ben Revere is a 40 now, with his poor routes, but if he improves there, he would easily be a 50 or even, possibly, a 60 field, even given his poor arm. His foot speed is enough to get to balls if his routes are good, and I think that is learnable.

  42. Simple Observation

    July 04, 2013 05:53 PM

    If and when Ben Revere learns to foul off balls close to the strike zone at two strikes, if and when he changes his hitting goals slightly to trying for a .400 OBP instead of a .300 BA, he could become great at the plate. He’s looked at entirely too many 3rd strikes this year and he puts too many pitcher’s pitches in play. I don’t believe either is his fault entirely. Certainly, the Phillies’ batting coaches never explained the situation to him.

    As for Revere’s outfield play and basestealing, Revere is not the one positioning himself outfield. Whoever is pretending to be knowledgeable about the opposing teams’ batters is. That’s why Revere and the other outfielders are so often out of position. With Revere’s range, the Phillies would be better off playing him straighaway every play and letting him adjust as the pitcher releases the ball. That’s the way real centerfielders play the game as opposed to over the hill managers.

    Revere doesn’t steal on his own much either. That’s been obvious since April. In fact, on this road trip it’s been a reasonable certainty that opposing teams know when the Phillies are going to run. They are likely stealing the the signs from the Manuel or Sandberg.

  43. #PhilliesTalk

    July 04, 2013 07:46 PM

    “Is a stud outfielder who is 32 years old what the Phillies want?”

    The Phillies – and apparently you as well – want a bunch of MLB pre-ARB slaves like the Marlins throw out there.

    The Phillies have the market, TV deal and overall financial capability to run a profitable $260 million payroll team. I expect them to just go get whatever they need every year just as George Steinbrenner did.

    Anything less than that is a SCAM


  44. #PhilliesTalk

    July 04, 2013 08:00 PM

    Ben Revere is an appalling, worthless toothpick bat with absolutely no ceiling whatsoever. His presence is a SCAM.

    Next up the Phillies want to sell Chase Utley (David Montgomery was quite plain about his desire to do this on a radio interview this week). Utley will be replaced by another worthless toothpick bat named Cesar Hernandez who couldn’t sniff the bottom of a Top 200 list. He’s a utility player, acceptable in the role that the appalling Michael Martinez filled here as a Rule 5 SCAMMIES pickup.

    The Phillies are ready to go all toothpick bat up the middle for years. It’s a TEN YEAR REBUILD.

  45. amarosucks

    July 04, 2013 08:24 PM

    ‘choo choo train’. really dude???

    choo is a good player, but when he hits the market he will be in his 30s. with his injury history he’s not a guy I want this team to sign. But he fits the amaro profile as an aging, overpriced, declining ROI type.

    this franchise is a complete disaster. Fire RAJ now

  46. Larry

    July 05, 2013 03:04 PM

    @ Richard,
    After our little argument about where Revere should bat in the order, Charlie used him at lead off yesterday. Coincidence?? I think not. Charlie made the right call. Now Jroll is in the 3rd hole? He needs to be moved to 6 or 7.

  47. sjhaack

    July 08, 2013 09:45 AM

    The title of this post is excellent and precisely encapsulates how I feel about Ben Revere, with a lean towards slight optimism.

  48. HELLO.

    July 14, 2013 05:10 AM

    richard and philliestalk in this thread = FAIL.

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