Ben Revere On Pace For A Phillies First
It’s September 3 and center fielder Ben Revere is batting .311 with 42 stolen bases. With eight more bags, and holding his .300-plus batting average through the end of the season — which, if he gets 100 more at-bats, would require him to bat .230 or worse — Revere could become the first Phillie to bat better than .300 with 50 or more steals.
Sherry Magee came the closest to accomplishing the feat, batting .331 with 49 stolen bases in 1910. Only two have come close in the modern era, as you can see on the list of Phillies to bat .300 with 40-plus steals:
If we lower the batting average threshold to .295, Jimmy Rollins‘ MVP-award-winning 2007 season (.296, 41) joins the list.
Even expanding the field to include all major leaguers, the feat is relatively rare. It has been accomplished only nine times since the start of 2000 and there have been no such occurrences since 2009:
It’s been done 57 times in the 69 seasons since 1945.
Obviously, rarity does not beget productivity — Revere’s .307 wOBA is the fourth-worst among qualified center fielders, beating only Leonys Martin, Billy Hamilton, and B.J. Upton — but Revere has put together a nice season that could be a springboard for the future. If any progress can be made defensively, he could be quite a useful player going forward.
As an addendum, Revere could also become the first Phillie to lead the league in batting since Richie Ashburn in 1958. He is two points behind Josh Harrison and is narrowly ahead of Justin Morneau. Hot streaks by Andrew McCutchen, Aramis Ramirez, and Buster Posey could also interfere with Revere’s chances.
Edit: As John Stolnis pointed out to me on Twitter, Ed Delahanty accomplished the feat in 1898. Baseball Reference’s Play Index stops at 1901, so that’s why it was omitted.