Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Prospect #5 Ben Revere
Center Field, Left Field, Right Field
Drafted 1st round, 2007 (28th overall) Lexington, Kentucky
Levels Played in 2009: A+ Fort Myers
Opening Day Age: 21 (Turns 22 on May 3rd)
Ben Revere is the Percy Harvin of the Twins organization. Every time he plays, something dynamic and exciting is bound to happen. Ben Revere was a questionable pick by the Twins in 2007. The Gatorade player of the year in Kentucky was projected to go somewhere in the 3rd or 4th round, but the Twins surprised the baseball world by selecting the speedy outfielder at the end of round 1, one pick after Tigers selected pitcher Rick Porcello. To put in perspective of the 2 picks, Porcello signed for a then record bonus for Detroit ($3.5 million), the Twins got Revere for a well below slot value of $750,000 (second lowest in MLB for the decade). It makes me wonder if Porcello where to have dropped to Minnesota at 28, would they have still taken Revere?
When Revere was drafted, he was looked at by scouts by a prototypical lead off hitter who would steal a ton of bases. In a short career Revere has been much more then that. He was seen to have a below average bat, and was pull happy. In 3 years Revere has hit .337, including a .379/.433/.497 stint in the Midwest League that earned him the league MVP as a 20 year old. Revere has been an All Star at all 3 levels, GCL, Midwest League, Florida State League that is in addition to his 2 Twins organizational player of the year awards. He shows his bat can be MLB ready sooner rather then later. He has stolen 110 bases in his 3 short years. He stole 21 bags in 50 games at rookie ball, 44 steals in 83 games in the Midwest League, and 45 steals in 121 games in the Florida State League. The final stat that jumps out is his K to BB ratio. As of yet Revere has not been over powered. In 2007 he struck out 20 times to 13 walks. 2008 he struck out 31 times to 27 walks, and last year he struck out 34 times to 40 walks. His patience is better then scouts give him credit for.
Revere is undersized. He stands 5 feet 9, 175 pounds. Just to put in perspective he is the same size as Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox (2008 AL MVP). Revere has 3 plus, plus tools. He can hit for very good average, he can cover a ton of ground in the outfield and he is lightning quick on the base paths. His other 2 tools come out to well below average.
Revere has no power to speak of as of yet. He can leg out doubles and triples however in 254 minor league games he has only 3 home runs. Not to say that this is a bad thing. He is batting lead off. Most teams, including the Twins could care less how many home runs their lead off guys hit. The whole object of a lead off hitter is to get on base and disrupt the pitcher for the rest of the order. The plus side to that is some scouts say that Revere does have some power and could possibly develop into a 10 to 12 HR guy in the future. I personally think that is a stretch but if he does it makes him a very special player. His other below average tool is his throwing arm. When drafted, Revere had a very bad arm. He has worked on that over the past 2 off seasons and may be up to average by now. Their were thoughts saying that Revere should be the Twins right fielder in 2011 and trade Michael Cuddyer. I simply just do not agree with that. Right field is a position to hide a guy who can not cover a lot of ground, but has a very strong arm. Revere is the complete opposite of that. He needs to be in center long term so that his speed can be displayed in all parts of the game.
Moving forward, Revere is a very liked player among the Twins staff and fans. He was kept in big league camp up until last week. Ron Gardenhire expressed greatly how much he enjoyed having Revere around. Revere is not currently on the 40 man roster and will begin the year in AA New Britain. But do not be surprised if some strings are pulled and he is up in September. Unlike other organizations, Minnesota does not reach deep into the system for players but it has happened on 3 occasions with Brad Radke, Joe Mauer and Jose Mijares. Revere's bat and speed definitely have value at the Major League level and because the Twins do not have Carlos Gomez any more, Revere might be a guy who could be put on a playoff roster to back up Denard Span or to be a pinch runner for Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer, and Jason Kubel.
Of course long term their are questions with Revere. Denard Span is now locked up for the next 5 years, Micheal Cuddyer and Jason Kubel are not a free agents until after 2011 and Delmon Young is still only 24 years old. Their are also a lot of left handed hitters at the top of the order with Span, Mauer, Morneau and Kubel. May be difficult to start off a game with 4 or 5 lefties in a row. From the looks of it Revere may be blocked. Their are also rumors of him being a trade chip to bring in a Joe Nathan replacement. For the time being it is too early to discuss any of this. Revere still does not turn 22 for another month. Let the kid play and worry about the rest later.
ETA: Do not be surprised if it's in September. Long term though he will be up in 2011.
Projection: Great lead off hitter. Hit well over .300 with 50+ steals and 100+ runs scored.
MLB Comparison: The Kirby Puckett comps are like 1 in 10,000. He is also a lot better then Juan Pierre. His offensive ability is similar to Chone Figgins. He defense is that of Kenny Loften (with less throwing arm). If he develops some power like some scouts believe (8-12 HR) he could be Jacoby Ellsbury.