Walking Through Ben Revere’s 19 Assists

By request:

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

RevereAssist (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:

revere1

It was a catch. Spectacular catch! Shouldn’t have been an assist. Certainly wasn’t a conventional assist, in any case.

Assist No. 2

RevereAssist (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

RevereAssist (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:

revere3

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

RevereAssist (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

RevereAssist (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

RevereAssist (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

RevereAssist (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

RevereAssist (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

RevereAssist (9)

Assists are easy when baserunners don’t know the number of outs!

Assist No. 10

RevereAssist (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

RevereAssist (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

RevereAssist (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

RevereAssist (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

RevereAssist (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

RevereAssist (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

RevereAssist (16)

Pretty outstanding throw! By Freddy Galvis.

Assist No. 17

RevereAssist (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

RevereAssist (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

RevereAssist (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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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
tz
Guest
tz
1 year 3 months ago

That was awesome Jeff!

Can’t wait for the sequel – “Assisting Through Ben Revere’s 13 Walks”

Phillies113
Member
Member
1 year 3 months ago

Ben Revere has really only one true skill, and that’s his speed. His reads on a lot of balls hit to the outfield are very…erm, not good. On assist 14, the famous one that made all the highlight reels, what isn’t shown (and Phillies then-color commentator Chris Wheeler even points out on the original broadcast) is that Revere broke the wrong way on that play. He is simply so fast that he, literally, was able to outrun that mistake and make that leaping play, which may not have been necessary had he made a better read on the ball.

All in all, what this exercise has taught me is the same lesson Ben Revere helped reinforce last season when he competed for the NL batting crown; outfield assists, much like batting average, are a terrible way to evaluate a player.

Brian L
Guest
Brian L
1 year 3 months ago

He has some Alex Wood mechanics on that rocket launcher of an arm.

j6takish
Guest
j6takish
1 year 3 months ago

Jeff do you pronounce it “Giff” or the technically correct but incredibly stupid sounding “Jiff”?

anon
Guest
1 year 3 months ago

Why isn’t “Giff” stupid sounding?

Pennsy
Guest
Pennsy
1 year 3 months ago

Yeah “Giff” sounds way dumber even if it isn’t trademarked, and it’s been long since the word “jiff” made me think of peanut butter, cause I’m a Peter Pan man anyway.

Bryz
Guest
1 year 3 months ago

My arguments:

1) The creator has the right to call it whatever he wants.
2) If you want to argue that the g stands for “graphics” and thus should be pronounced “giff,” I counter that the p in jpeg stands for “photographic” and thus should be pronounced “j-pheg.”
3) While we have the word “gift” possessing a hard g, “giraffe” is spelled similarly but is pronounced with a soft g. Thus, it shouldn’t be that odd that gif is pronounced with a soft g as well.

Richard
Guest
1 year 3 months ago

1. Yes, he can. But we don’t have to. Language doesn’t care about what creators say, nor should it.
2. interesting, but beside any point I’d make
3. ah, here’s a plausible argument. Maybe.

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 3 months ago

ROFLOL!

This was great. Did the ball in assist number 12 travel 15 feet before it bounced?

Tweet from the “Producer” John Powers Middleton sent to Ben Revere on the announcement of his acquisition by the Phillies:

“Great pickup…..looking forward to it”

And the Phantards think Amaro is the problem.
_

Free_Fangraphs_From_This_Poster
Guest
Free_Fangraphs_From_This_Poster
1 year 3 months ago

Type “Jered Weaver’s nine year old golf clubs” into Google to see how you can stop Free_AEC from wasting precious Fangraphs’ comment sections!

concerend citizen of philadelphia
Guest
concerend citizen of philadelphia
1 year 3 months ago

I thought fangraphs would always be a safe haven from the cesspool of philly.com commenters. Today is a dark day.

Bobby Ayala
Member
Member
1 year 3 months ago

I just went to his hilarious website!!! Bad photoshop wanted posters for John Powers Middleton!!! Tweets from John Powers Middleton asking this guy to stop harassing his friends!!! I can’t tell if he’s a comedy writer or someone the FBI probably has under surveillance.

Bobby Ayala
Member
Member
1 year 3 months ago

Holy crap this guy’s been banned from twitter for harrassment and kicked off the ESPN message boards for posting the home addresses of the Phillies owners. He apparently wants the Phillies to have the highest payroll in baseball and win the series every year, anything less is a conspiracy by the owners.

MARK LIU
Guest
MARK LIU
1 year 3 months ago

Should be like in hockey. First assist and a secondary assist. No tertiary assists.

CecilioGuante
Guest
CecilioGuante
1 year 3 months ago

I had no idea they counted those cutoff to home to 3rd putouts as OF assists. i no longer put any stock in this stat.

I don't care what anyone
Guest
I don't care what anyone
1 year 3 months ago

upvote for the user name lol.

I don't care what I don't care what anyone says
Guest
I don't care what I don't care what anyone says
1 year 3 months ago

Agreed.

I don't care what I don't care what I don't care what anyone says says says
Guest
I don't care what I don't care what I don't care what anyone says says says
1 year 3 months ago

You’re talking about CecilioGuante right?

I care about what you
Guest
I care about what you
1 year 3 months ago

and I’m in total agreement as well.

Andy
Guest
Andy
1 year 3 months ago

had no idea either. it’d be interesting to see how many bogus assists exist on average. surely revere is extreme. maybe not though.

xsturmin8
Member
xsturmin8
1 year 3 months ago

Extremely entertaining. More like this please.

steex
Guest
steex
1 year 3 months ago

Great, really fun piece from Jeff (as usual).

I have to admit, the Cespedes boot-it-then-throw-it scenario is not the sort of play I imagine when I think of an outfield assist. I think along the lines of Ichiro, Ankiel, or that Bo Jackson classic.

StroShow
Guest
StroShow
1 year 3 months ago

Just wait until I link you to the SBNation reader posting that detailed all 19 of Ben Revere’s assists that was posted last week – with .gifs!

Mwahaha.

Vince
Guest
Vince
1 year 3 months ago

Awesome content! The funny thing is that a lot of people use assists as a metric to evaluate something. For every Ichiro laser, there is 20 bad base-running plays or even more frequently a guy with an average arm being unnecessarily challenged.

Mac
Guest
1 year 3 months ago

Well, in a sense, executing when being challenged is sort of a skill unto itself. One of things I hate is when is an OFer is good enough that teams basically give up on challenging them altogether and simply accepting that runners won’t advance. That OFer is now reduced from creating outs with arm to more of a turning doubles into singles role.

Arguably, a weak argument perhaps, it’s better to have the guy who gets challenged. Yeah you give up the double sometimes, but you also can generate outs that ways, and outs are just terrific for a defense.

nb
Guest
nb
1 year 3 months ago

I strongly disagree. Preventing the runners from taking an extra base through sheer intimidation is terrific. Yadi Molina faces a below average number of stolen base attempts against because runners aren’t stupid. It’s not a problem to lose CS chances, because it means the runner is 90′ further from scoring on another base hit.

Cutting down on the batting team’s ability to take an extra base can’t help but be an advantage. Revere’s assists #10 and #11 are only chances because slow runners are challenging him. If that’s, say, Ichiro out there, they are more likely to stay put and give the pitcher a crack at the next batter, which is almost certainly a higher percentage play for the pitching team than the 9-2 putout with a noodle-armed right fielder.

Smart Guy
Guest
1 year 3 months ago

Personally, I trust the Fans Scouting Report more than UZR or any other defensive metric. Not to say those other ones are bad or that some weighted average of the different metrics is not better than just picking one… but if I had to pick ONE, I would pick the FSR.

Stupid Non-Human
Guest
Stupid Non-Human
1 year 3 months ago

Externally, you don’t trust UZR more than FSR and not none of the other defensive metrics. I am saying that those other ones are good and not that some weighted subtraction of no metrics is better than not picking all of them… or if you had to pick ALL, you would not pick UZR.

Jon L.
Guest
Jon L.
1 year 3 months ago

Nearly fell out of my chair at this sequence:

“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.”

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 3 months ago

I can’t decide which of these in Assist #3 is more awesome:

– The runner on first plowing into the Twins 2B to break up the possible double play, but with crappy form and after ball had bounded into center field

– Delmon Young hustling the whole way with TWTW to show off the correct technique for breaking up a double play, except for the fact that he was the batter-runner himself so all he broke up was his own double. (except for the fact that he really was safe.)

Pete B
Guest
Pete B
1 year 3 months ago

Ah this brightened my morning.

Brett W
Guest
Brett W
1 year 3 months ago

Awesomeness. Props to @dshemie8 and the always-entertaining Jeff Sullivan. Also, props to Ben Revere, the Twins, and the Phillies for allowing this awesomeness to exist.

And that catch on No. 14. Good gracious.

dang
Guest
dang
1 year 3 months ago

Assist #14 is my favorite Ben Revere memory. He looks like he double jumps somehow, like his body is traveling up and his other foot still hits the ground to push him up farther.

Lol at “Outstanding throw! By Freddy Galvis.”

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
1 year 3 months ago

How many of those include bounced throws? Even #14 included the cutoff man (Galvis? Couldn’t tell) bouncing a relatively short throw.

Pennsy
Guest
Pennsy
1 year 3 months ago

Better to miss your throw in front of the receiver’s feet than over his head

EWK
Guest
EWK
1 year 3 months ago

One of these “arm” assists was also against Yuni B doing typical Yuni B things, like trying to stretch a lucky bloop single into a double.

Thought I might add that disclaimer.

Dr. Obvious
Guest
Dr. Obvious
1 year 3 months ago

I have almost lost all respect for the stat “outfield assists” after reading this

Micah Stupak
Guest
Micah Stupak
1 year 3 months ago

You undersold the appeal of this piece, Jeff. It is hi-lar-i-ous. I mean, it had a Delmon Young gif, which ended up being a great Delmon Young gif, so it’s got more going for it than the (already amusing) Ben Revere gifs.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 3 months ago

Delmon Young hustling, Ryan Howard with not one but two sparkling defensive plays….dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria!

Falcon Punch
Member
Falcon Punch
1 year 3 months ago

I have a better arm than Ben Revere. I don’t care what you say.

Paul G.
Guest
Paul G.
1 year 3 months ago

Much fun!

Outfield assists are a lot like RBIs. RBIs are a product of playing time, offensive talent, and opportunities. Outfield assists are a product of playing time, throwing ability (both strength and accuracy), and opportunities. If people ran on Jesse Barfield like they do Ben Revere, Jesse would probably have had something like 50 assists a year, if not more. It is funny that Ben is often producing his own opportunities through his effectively bad jump skill! Jesse also produced his own opportunities on occasion, but those were base runner kills caused by making ridiculously good throws.

jcxy
Guest
jcxy
1 year 3 months ago

this was unexpectedly excellent

Michael
Guest
Michael
1 year 3 months ago

The worst throwing arm that I can remember seeing would have to be Johnny Damon. It was just so godawful ugly.. looked like a 12 year old kid who’d always thrown right-handed and suddenly decided to give throwing left-handed a try.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 3 months ago

It just dawned on me. The Twins had Ben Revere, with this arm, starting in RF for 80+ games in 2012.

That’s not much worse than batting him cleanup. Holy crap!

Bryz
Guest
1 year 3 months ago

Yep. Meanwhile the average-armed Josh Willingham started in left field.

jlm
Guest
jlm
1 year 3 months ago

In #13 Revere uses a cut-off man to get the ball to what is essentially the cut-off man.

KK-Swizzle
Guest
KK-Swizzle
1 year 3 months ago

“Don’t lose sight of the fact that you completely suck at baseball. You’re just lucky you never get .giffed.” #motivational #sullivanedit

Benjamin Wendorf
Guest
Benjamin Wendorf
1 year 3 months ago

The Brantly one was an atrocious runner read. Revere hardly even had to stretch it out to get that.

ThePuck
Guest
ThePuck
1 year 3 months ago

My favorite Ben Revere throw was when AJ Pierzinski was on 2B. Ball was hit to CF, a sliver to the left field side. Revere was already playing short and he charged the ball. Super slow Pierzinki didn’t even consider slowing down cause he knew who was out there. He scored standing up as Revere 6 hopped the throw to home plate. Of course, the funny part was how close Revere was to the IF when he released the ball and the first bounce was on the IF dirt.

Monkey Halo
Guest
Monkey Halo
1 year 3 months ago

This post gave me the giggles.

Freshershest
Guest
Freshershest
1 year 3 months ago

In that Cespedes video, except for Trout, everyone involved in that play has been traded.

james wilson
Guest
james wilson
1 year 3 months ago

I’m guessing that his max heave is between 150 and 180 feet as the rainbow flies. Arms like his, and Damon’s, were almost certainly damaged so early on that no one is aware they could at one time throw well. Also, when you have little idea where the ball is going and some throws are even hoked into the ground fifty feet in front, that is a very high indicator for shoulder issues.

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