— David Shemie (@dshemie8) January 28, 2015
Ben Revere has 19 career outfield assists. Please understand what you’re getting into: this post is going to have .gifs, so many .gifs. Probably too many .gifs. It was absolutely too many .gifs for me to try to make in a morning, with a fussy and very particular MLB.tv. Also, many of the .gifs are flat-out bad, either because the streaming was going poorly, or because the play was too long and I had to take some shortcuts. Close this window right now if you’re not into what’s coming. If you haven’t closed the window yet, hi there. These are Ben Revere’s 19 outfield assists.
What is an outfield assist? I mean, that’s a dumb and basic question. An outfield assist is when an outfielder helps to throw a baserunner out. There are many different ways to record an assist from the outfield, but the classic way is the impressive way — the outfielder throwing a runner out on the fly with a shoulder-launched missile. When you think of an outfield assist, this is the sort of play you imagine.
Ben Revere has 19 assists. This is why that’s interesting.
I love the Fan Scouting Report. It’s got obvious drawbacks, obvious flaws, but I love the process of crowd-sourcing, and I like having different categories of fielding ability available. In short, I like having numbers that reflect fan opinion, even if they’re silly. Why are they silly? Why do certain players get certain evaluations? What’s the potential meaning of a fan evaluation that differs from a UZR or DRS evaluation?
One of the bigger problems with the Fan Scouting Report is that it doesn’t seem to correct for hyperbole. From time to time, I’ll see players with 0 ratings, even though that obviously has to be untrue, unless the player in question was playing while dead. Last year, Tony Sanchez wound up with an arm accuracy rating of 0. In 2013, Raul Ibanez was given an overall rating of 7, with a 4 for instincts. Evaluations like this are unrealistically extreme. But then, again, there’s value in everything. Why is a player a target for exaggeration? What could such a low rating mean? A rating of 1, or 3, or 7, shouldn’t be interpreted as meaning the player deserves a rating of 1, or 3, or 7. But it does mean that, in the opinion of the fans, that player is laughably bad.
According to the Fan Scouting Report, Ben Revere has a career arm strength rating of 1.
And it’s been consistent. Revere debuted with a 4. Since then, he’s had three consecutive 0s. And, importantly:
- 2011: 4 (Twins)
- 2012: 0 (Twins)
- 2013: 0 (Phillies)
- 2014: 0 (Phillies)
It isn’t just one fan base that’s picked on him. Revere has played for two different teams in two different leagues, and his arm has gotten the same reaction. So to some extent that corrects for single-team bias. It’s not that Twins fans were being extraordinarily harsh; Phillies fans have done the exact same. It makes the rating twice as meaningful. Ben Revere’s closest Fan Scouting Report comps, in terms of arm strength: Juan Pierre, Johnny Damon, and Coco Crisp. Both Crisp and Pierre, at least, drew higher ratings in arm accuracy. (Revere’s accuracy rating is also bad.)
We have a terrible rating, and we also have 19 assists since 2011. Ichiro Suzuki has 21 assists since 2011, and a high arm strength rating. Nelson Cruz has 18 assists since 2011, and a high arm strength rating. Revere’s right there with guys like Andre Ethier and Matt Joyce. He’s done better than Justin Upton and Peter Bourjos. So, to finally get to it: how has Ben Revere racked up 19 total outfield assists? Has he really thrown that many guys out on the fly? We proceed, one by one. Chronologically, we’ll start in 2011.
Assist No. 1
You’re confused. You should be confused. This was ruled a force-out at second base, as the judgment on the field was that Revere didn’t make the catch cleanly. So he threw the ball on several bounces to first, and the runners didn’t know what was what, so one of them had to be out, and, I don’t need to explain the rules to you. This was before instant-replay review, though. And, about that:
It was a catch. Spectacular catch! Shouldn’t have been an assist. Certainly wasn’t a conventional assist, in any case.
Assist No. 2
Here we’ve got Yuniesky Betancourt challenging Revere’s arm. This is a more normal assist: Revere simply threw Betancourt out before he got to second. In this same year, Betancourt attempted eight steals and was successful four times. He made seven other outs on the bases. Not deterred, later in the same game Betancourt ripped off an inside-the-park home run. Note that, while this was a regular outfield assist, Revere bounced the ball from not far away. The throw was also off-line, but this is about strength, not accuracy.
Assist No. 3
Another weird play! And another somewhat normal outfield assist, as Revere threw Delmon Young out stretching a single. Except, for one thing, note that Revere bounced his throw, even though he was like 11 feet away from the infield. For another thing, Young slid almost parallel to the bag, like a complete idiot:
And for a third thing, Young was safe, and not out. But, pre-replay, again. So Revere got assist credit. To be honest, while Revere didn’t deserve an assist, Young also didn’t deserve to be alive on the bases. Someone had to get lucky.
Assist No. 4
Pretty heads-up play by the infielders! Pretty opposite-of-a-heads-up play by Miguel Cabrera. Revere was given an assist for this. He didn’t have literally nothing to do with the play, but he did have literally nothing to do with Cabrera getting caught napping. Unless maybe Cabrera figured it would take a few minutes for Revere’s throw to arrive at the diamond.
Assist No. 5
After Revere touched the ball, three other Twins touched the ball, in throwing Kevin Youkilis out at third base. The initial attempt was at home. Is there a point at which the outfielder is deemed to no longer have been involved? How many Twins could have gotten in on throwing Youkilis out, with Revere still getting credit for an assist? Is the answer all of them?
Assist No. 6
Pretty sweet catch by Ben Revere. Baserunners certainly didn’t expect it. You’ll notice that the baserunner Revere technically threw out is nowhere in the picture. He could’ve walked the ball back to the infield. He could’ve rolled the ball back to the infield. He could’ve bank-shotted the ball back to the infield, throwing it off the outfield wall. Or at least, a teammate with a stronger arm might’ve been able to do that.
Assist No. 7
Once again, Revere is removed from the final tag by three different teammates. Nothing against Revere’s throw — it was a good throw to the cutoff guy. But this is a pretty stretched example of an outfield assist.
Assist No. 8
Dear god, it’s perfect. A good throw, on the fly, right on the money, to kill Ryan Roberts. In this same season, the Fan Scouting Report gave Ben Revere’s arm strength a 0 rating. This assist happened on August 11, when the Twins fell to 49-64. In 2012, the latest game of the season any Twins fan watched was on August 10. Considering the Twins lost 12-6 and started Cole De Vries, I’m not one to blame them.
Assist No. 9
Assists are easy when baserunners don’t know the number of outs!
Assist No. 10
You know what that is? That’s a straight-up, on-the-fly outfield assist. That’s a pretty good throw by Ben Revere. The individual he threw out was Casey Kotchman, who once lost a footrace to the growing edge of a toenail.
Assist No. 11
Two in a row! Two legitimate outfield assists in a row. The victim here: Miguel Cabrera. Try not to think about what it tells you that the last two third-base coaches tested Ben Revere with Casey Kotchman and Miguel Cabrera.
Assist No. 12
Daniel Murphy didn’t just cost the Mets an out — he also cost them a run, as he was out before the runner from third could get to home. So this was just terrible baserunning by a guy who’s developed into a quality baserunner. Revere was smart to notice, but it would’ve been hard not to, and you’ll also notice that the throw, from shallow left-center, was bounced.
Assist No. 13
Rob Brantly tells you exactly what went wrong. Revere didn’t kill a baserunner. Brantly killed himself. Revere was just there to make sure he was dead.
Assist No. 14
I literally cannot believe this play. Just cannot believe it. Nor could the runner who had departed from first. This is another one of those assists created by Ben Revere’s range. It wasn’t created by Ben Revere’s arm.
Assist No. 15
This one was created by Ben Revere’s arm! Upon release, Revere was a few dozen feet behind second base. So it wasn’t the longest throw in the world, but this is basically what Juan Lagares does, so it’s not like Revere doesn’t deserve credit.
Assist No. 16
Pretty outstanding throw! By Freddy Galvis.
Assist No. 17
This one, a heads-up play by Ryan Howard. Revere bounced his throw to Howard, and certainly had no shot at the runner going home. I’d classify this one as a secondary assist. It’s better than the earlier tertiary assists.
Assist No. 18
There’s another range-assist. That’s not an arm-assist. Also, it’s a bad-read-by-the-baserunner-assist. Takes a good play to make this play, but it doesn’t take a great throw, or a good throw, or an average throw, or even a terrible throw. Just takes the ball being propelled in the general direction of second. The runner had given up.
Assist No. 19
At last, we reach the end with another secondary assist. The throw to Howard is on the fly, and accurate enough, but it’s Howard who actually gets the play in motion to retire the advancing baserunner, and then it’s the third baseman who finishes the job. Revere went to the grocery store; the infielders made the dinner.
Ben Revere has 19 career big-league assists. Here, we have watched all of them. Of those 19 assists, six have been directly created by Ben Revere’s arm. On one of those six, the runner should’ve been actually safe. On another, the runner was Casey Kotchman. On another, Revere threw home from very shallow center field, and on still another, Revere bounced a throw to second from not very far away. If you’re looking for visually-impressive assists, Ben Revere isn’t your man. That’s what you’d expect out of an arm rating of 1. But, he’ll always have the Ryan Roberts play. That was a throw any outfielder could be proud of. And it was probably a better throw than you could make. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you completely suck at baseball. You’re just lucky you never get .giffed.
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