Quick quiz: What 2007 No. 1 draft pick has a career .331 average, but is never, ever talked about as a serious prospect?
The answer is Minnesota’s Ben Revere, an outfielder who was taken 28th overall out of a Kentucky high school. He entered 2010 with a triple-slash line of .331/.396/.430 in 997 at-bats. The speedy outfielder, now 22, has moved slowly up the system’s ladder, one step at a time through rookie ball, low-A, high-A and now double-A.
This season, he’s been unfazed by the more advanced pitching in double-A and is hitting .313/.387/.380 in 163 at-bats. Revere is not a power hitter, as witnessed by his .067 ISO rate. And he’ll never be a power hitter. Luckily, he seems to realize what his strengths are, and he plays to those attributes.
Revere stole 40+ bases in both ’08 and ’09. So far this season, he’s nabbed 17 bags in 21 tries. He doesn’t have a huge walk rate because he makes good, consistent contact, but he has also struck out just four more times than he’s walked in his career. In ’10, he has 17 walks and 16 strikeouts. A left-handed hitter, Revere is not a player you have to worry about platooning. His career OPS versus southpaws is .866 (.363 batting average) and it’s .800 (.324 average) against right-handed pitchers.
Although he’s never been promoted in-season by the Twins, this could be the year that the organization decides to change things up. Revere is close to being MLB-ready and is hitting .415/.489/.537 with six steals in his last 10 games. The organization lacks depth in the outfield at triple-A and if the MLB club needs an injury replacement for the second half of the season, Revere might be the type of player that can provide a playoff-seeking club a real boost.
Revere also provides an element that the big league club could benefit from: speed. Aside from fellow outfielder Denard Span, who has 13 steals, no other Twin has more than four (Orlando Hudson). Neither Delmon Young (.324 wOBA) nor Jason Kubel (.304) has really pulled his weight this season. If placed in the ninth spot in the lineup, Revere should be able to get on base at a clip of .350-.370, leaving him in a good position to be driven in by Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and/or Michael Cuddyer. Mr. Young could take his .315 on-base percentage to the bench.
Ultimately, Revere is probably not a difference-making player all on his own, despite his lofty draft status. However, he’s proven over the past four seasons that he has skills to be an important cog in a playoff-worthy club.
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