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February 14, 2012 posted by Paul Greco

Fantasy Baseball 2012- Breakout Players: Ben Revere

Fantasy Baseball 2012- Breakout Players: Ben Revere
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Ben Revere, Minnesota Twins, LF

One year ago, Ben Revere was set to begin the 2011 season with my hometown Rochester Red Wings (AAA-IL) and I couldn’t have been more excited.

Injuries to the Twins before the start of the campaign decimated Rochester’s line-up, however, and led to an exodus of their talent to the Twin Cities.

I had the opportunity to see Revere seven times in person and an additional twelve on television while he was with Rochester. My initial analysis led me to believe that he was a guy with raw plus-plus speed who wasn’t quite sure how to use it. Watching him on the bases left me underwhelmed to say the least. While I put some of this on the ineptitude of former manager Tom Nieto, it was clear that Revere didn’t know when to steal or take the extra base.

Nevertheless, he went 8/10 on the base paths in AAA and followed it up by going 34/43 in Minnesota. His numbers surprised me, but didn’t at the same time.  There’s no denying that he’s an elite athlete and has 40 steal potential in the Major Leagues. but manager Ron Gardenhire has a bit of a reputation amongst Red Wings fans of quickly putting labels on youngsters. Gardy surprised me…but partly because he had no choice with Denard Span ailing.

One concern with Revere is his plate approach. Leadoff hitters who go up to the plate ready to hack give me a headache. His 5.4% walk rate with the Twins last season simply isn’t good enough. On the bright side, Revere’s K rate is significantly below average, (8.5% with Minnesota last year) which proves to be very valuable. With elite speed, you’re always giving yourself a chance if you can put the ball in play.

A .310 OBP wouldn’t cut it again this year but, thankfully, it doesn’t need to. Gardenhire has already said that he will hit Denard Span in the leadoff spot. He has also claimed that Alexi Casilla and Jamey Carroll will play 2B and SS, respectively, leading us to believe that Carroll slots into the #2 spot and Casilla gets dropped to #8. This paves the way for Revere to hit ninth and Gardenhire to have great speed at both ends of his lineup.

While many will use his place in the lineup as a reason to downgrade him on Draft Day, we are not worried. Revere ranked 7th in the Majors with 26 infield hits in 2011. He’s a ground ball hitter (68.2% GB%)  and, astoundingly, 87% of his hits (104/120) were singles. He’s obviously going to be the most effective in the running game from first base. While it seems odd that someone with his speed doesn’t end up with more doubles, don’t fret. This plays to your advantage.

Revere’s value is tied up in his ability to steal bases and the BA stabilization that he provides. His skills say that he’s better than the .267 hitter he was last year. His .293 BABIP is surprisingly low for someone with a 2.9% swinging strike rate, a 92.2% contact rate, and an unreal 96.2% contact rate inside the strike zone. His plate discipline makes me believe that his BABIP is due to improve to at least .315 in 2012.

Below, we project Revere up against similar “cheap speed” players who have been going before him in mock drafts to date:

R HR RBI SB AVG ADP
Juan Pierre

81

1

40

37

0.276

190

Jason Bourgeois

36

1

30

33

0.296

227

Rajai Davis

29

2

32

27

0.258

228

Ben Revere

60

0

56

41

0.284

232

It’s awfully perplexing that Rajai Davis and Jason Bourgeois are being selected ahead of him. Both will be lucky to get 300 AB in 2012 and you cannot justify their selection over someone who plays every day. The same logic applies to Juan Pierre. Does he even start 4 times a week with Domonic Brown in the mix?

Bottom line, Ben Revere offers you great value for a .280 BA / 40SB hitter in the late stages of a draft.  Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

Paul finished the 2011-2012 Fantasy Football season as the #1 Weekly Rankings & Projections winner of the 411Fantasy Expert Challenge. He also finished 2nd in the FantasyPros.com Expert Draft Accuracy Challenge in 2011. Top 10 Finisher in the FSWA Fantasy Football Draft Projections. Paul is also apart of baseballs elite as a member of Tout Wars. You can follow me on Twitter @PaulGreco
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