Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Player Review/Preview: Ben Revere


Key Stats: Games: 88; WAR: 0.8; dWAR: -0.4; OBP: .338; SB: 22; HR: Yeah, right!

What happened in 2013

Ben Revere is without question one of the easiest Phillies to root for. He’s not old, for one. From all we can tell on social media, he’s a really nice guy. And despite getting off to a terrible start in Philly, with an OPS of just .472 in April, he got on his horse in May and began to play like the spark plug the Phillies had hoped for when trading Vance Worley and Trevor May for him in 2012.

It’s not a surprise that Ben struggled to start his NL career.  A lot of young players have a hard time adjusting from league to league. They don’t know the pitchers, the ball parks, or even where to get a good hoagie. Once he settled in he was off to the races.

By June, B-Rev was in full gear, reaching base at a torrid .390 clip for the month. From June 9 to June 22, Revere notched 22 hits in a 12 game hit streak, which included a 4-hit game, two 3-hit games, and three 2-hit games. In just those 12 games B-Rev stole 6 bases without getting caught and raised his OPS from .563 to .627. Somehow, the Phillies only managed 5-7 record during that stretch.

Revere stayed hot for the next 19 games before succumbing to injury on July 13 with 315 AB and a .305 average. The Phillies returned from the All Star break without Ben, promptly went into a season crushing tailspin and were out of contention by mid-August.  Sorry to remind you.

Watching Ben Revere play every day we learned a few things about him as a fielder. He isn’t the best route runner but he’s fast enough to make up a step or two. Nor does he have the strongest, most accurate arm — that’s a nice way of saying he has a wet noodle hanging from his right shoulder. I’ve never understood players who bat left and throw right but Ben is one of them. Makes me wonder if his parents didn’t get him the right glove! If that’s the case, it would be the only thing his parents didn’t get right with Ben because he’s obviously a genuinely good dude.

In fact, Revere had a negative defensive WAR rating in 2013 (dWAR -0.4). It’s difficult to see his highlight reel catches and think of him as anything but an elite fielder, but who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

Runners will try to take extra bases from Ben, so he really needs to charge hard and come up throwing to have a chance at nailing a runner. Ben’s effort is always plain to see but the ball just doesn’t come out of his hand with much force. All in all, Ben’s track record in Minnesota shows he is a good fielder, but he’s no Shane Victorino, who would hold or gun down runners with laser throws from all over the outfield. Dang, sorry to remind you again.

What to expect in 2014

Not many people know this but we almost lost Ben Revere this offseason.  No, not due to a trade.  B-Rev nearly went to Heaven early because his grandfather apparently tried to drown him at his baptism.

The hashtags say it all: #childofGod #secondlateholdingmybreath #sawjesusforasecond #imgoodnow

Fortunately, he was spared, probably due to the quick thinking of his other relatives.  What I want to know is this: can his grandfather also baptize Bryce Harper? When Cole Hamels tried it with a fastball, it didn’t really work out so well.

By the way, following the baptism we think RAJ tried to sign Ben’s grandfather as a back-up center fielder but was politely told no because Grandpa wanted a two-year deal and RAJ drew the line at three.

Moving on…

Revere’s surgically repaired broken foot is not expected to limit his speed and he should be ready to pick up right where he left off.  Ben knows himself well as a player and isn’t ashamed to be a Punch and Judy hitter.

Check out the Instagram link: No shame in his game!

But don’t let his slight stature or his niceness fool you: Ben is mentally and physically tough. Remember how he busted down the line on a broken foot trying to beat out that double play? As JRoll would say: “Way to rep the P, Ben!”

I wouldn’t be surprised if Revere is Ruben Amaro, Jr.’s favorite player.  The trade was a win, first of all.  And Ben is a young, controllable player on a team stacked with expensive veterans. Revere is first-year arbitration eligible in 2014 and won’t be a free agent until 2018.

If the Phillies crash and burn in the first half of 2014, expect RAJ to pull the plug and start selling off assets. Ben Revere will get a lot of interest and may help sweeten a package deal to unload one or two of the expensive geezers.

There’s another possibility, though. The Phillies could surprise a lot of people in 2014, even if they don’t sign Masahiro Tanaka, and a large part of it will be because they have Ben Revere setting the table with a rejuvenated Jimmy Rollins continuing to practice what Ryne Sandberg preaches.

Look for B-Rev to thrill the Phils with more outstanding catches and for his overall numbers on both offense and defense to improve. And don’t look for a nicer guy on the Phillies because you’re not likely to find one.

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