Breaking Down Ben Revere's Role on Philadelphia Phillies' Roster

David CattaiContributor IIIFebruary 20, 2014

Speed will be an asset for the Philadelphia Phillies with Ben Revere at the top of the order.
Speed will be an asset for the Philadelphia Phillies with Ben Revere at the top of the order.Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

When the Philadelphia Phillies acquired outfielder Ben Revere from the Minnesota Twins in a trade during the 2013 offseason for pitchers Vance Worley and Trevor May, fans were ecstatic.

With Shane Victorino out of the picture, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. needed to fill a void that put up a lot of production during the team's 2007-2011 National League East run.

Amaro wanted to strengthen the middle of the diamond, and with Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz having already established Major League careers, he needed to strengthen it with youth.

Revere, 26, is entering his second season with the Phillies, but it won't be his second full season. The young outfielder played 88 games before injuring his ankle in July.

What should the Philadelphia faithful expect from the young outfielder in Year 2?

Let's hope for less of this.

 

Leadoff Hitter

The Phillies offense, as well as the majority of MLB offenses, works best with speed at the top of the lineup. In his prime Rollins was that player, just as Juan Pierre and Ichiro Suzuki were for their teams.

Manager Ryne Sandberg and the Phillies offense would benefit if Revere became the leadoff hitter. Sandberg could bounce Rollins back or move Utley into the No. 2 slot in the lineup.

The problem for the Phillies was Revere's inefficiency with getting on base.

In April, Revere has a slash line of .200/.234/.222 in 96 plate appearances. It seemed like every ball was routinely being grounded to shortstop or second base. Some of the problem was a high strikeout rate, which was 10.7 percent, and a low walk rate, which was 4.8 percent.

To put this into perspective, Revere's career walk rate is far lower than Rollins' career walk rate.

Career Comparison
PlayerK%BB%OBP
Jimmy Rollins11.7%7.7%.327
Ben Revere9.7 %5.2%.324
FanGraphs.com

But like all everyday major leaguers, Revere made adjustments at the dish.

The speedy center fielder had a career high .305 batting average and a .338 on-base percentage before a foul ball cost him what could have been a breakout season.

Ben Revere's 2013 Progression
MonthAVGOBPOPSBABIP
April.200.234.456.237
May.312.361.712.353
June.354.390.805.393
July.388.388.857.413
Season Total.305.338.691.344
Baseball-Reference.com

Revere got on base because of his .344 BABIP (batting average of balls in play) in 2013, which lead to him earning career highs in certain categories.

 

Base Stealer

Besides getting on base, the Phillies are relying on Revere to cause havoc on them as well. His speed is unprecedented. The kid can flat-out fly. If you don't believe me, take a look.

As you can see in the video, Revere gets a bad jump off Trevor Bauer but is still able to beat the throw from the catcher without a problem.

If Revere can get on base and cause havoc on them, the Phillies could have themselves a player similar to a young version of Rollins. Revere did steal 40 bases for the Twins in 2012. Expect him to be among the league leaders in swipes by the end of 2014.

 

Anchor in the Outfield

Revere's speed will also play a role on the defensive end.

There were times Revere has looked like a dominant outfielder.

And there have been times Revere has looked lost when running routes to the baseball. Revere had a UZR (ultimate zone rating) of -2.3 last season, which was a career low, dropping his career total to 23.0.

But these are things that can obviously be fixed and having the speed to run down balls makes that possible.

Revere will become the team's anchor in the outfield. I use the term "anchor" because a center fielder's job is to control the majority of the outfield, calling off players to take better routes to the ball.

He will likely be slated between Domonic Brown and Marlon Byrd in the outfield. If Revere's defense can improve, which is obvious because of his career defensive metrics, then he will make Brown and Byrd better defenders. Having the ability to cover more ground in the outfield makes Revere a prime example for the Phillies having better defense in the outfield.

2014 Season Prediction
GHSB.AVGOBPBABIP
Me13516545.282.320.318
FanGraphs (Steamer)11313328.283.325.312
FanGraphs.com

Revere has all the tools to become a productive everyday center fielder as well as a great leadoff hitter. The next step is making adjustments and improving on a productive 2013 season.