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TwinsCentric: The Revere debate. How good is he?

  • Blog Post by: John Bonnes
  • September 21, 2011 - 8:18 PM

(Before we get started, make sure you check out the information on this Saturday's TwinsCentric Twins gathering this Saturday afternoon at the bottom of this story.)

In Tuesday night’s podcast with Aaron Gleeman, we argued about Ben Revere for about 20 minutes. Aaron’s point (I think) is that people are getting all jacked up about guy who hasn’t been very good. My response was that given his defensive value, his youth (23 years old), inexperience (less than a half season at AAA), and the dearth of other positive stories this year, he’s been one of the bright spots. 

(It’s a debate worth listening to, I think. I’ll be honest – by the time we finish each of these podcasts, I’m both wired and exhausted. I’m also almost sure that it sucks, but I publish it anyway. The next day I listen to it, decide it sucks less, and convince myself it might be worth my time to do it again next week. We would love your feedback on Twitter at @GleemanAndGeek.)
 
One doesn’t need to go far to convince oneself that Revere isn’t particularly valuable, especially at the top of the lineup. His on-base percentage is just .311 which is dangerously close to Carlos Gomez territory (career OBP: .289) – and he doesn’t have the power that Gomez could occasionally display.
 
For all the accolades that Revere has garnered, his OPS is just 610. Gomez cleared that in both of his years with the Twins, while also playing spectacular defense and stealing bases (33 in his first year with the Twins). Plus, Gomez was even younger than Revere. But he never received the love that Revere is enjoying now. Indeed, yours truly argued Gomez was an incredible liability – a liability with upside, but a liability nonetheless.
 
One reason for the lovefest might be that Revere has, despite those pedestrian overall numbers, seemingly made the most of his talents. If you look at his Win Probability Added (WPA), which measures how important his offense was in winning games, he grades out about average (-.17). So he’s provided average offensive production in the context of games, while playing a premier defensive position exceedingly well (+10.4 UZR). I’m going to stick with my label last night: bright spot.
 
However, this raises two questions:
 
1. Was Revere just lucky? That WPA outperforms his OPS considerably. Did he happen to get on base and steal bases at just the right time by chance? Or is it possible there is something about “piranhas” that provides extra value at critical times? I did a quick back-of-the-napkin study that I’ll share on TwinsGeek.com tomorrow. To be honest, it’s going to be little geeky for the Strib blog.
 

2. How can you set me (or Aaron) straight on our obvious ignorance? I suppose you could choose the yellow-bellied way out and use the comments below, but I’ll throw another option: tell us in person at the TwinsCentric event this Saturday afternoon. The TwinsCentric crew, plus Aaron, will be hosting a get-together for Twins fans at Manitou Station at White Bear Lake for the early Twins game. We’ll even be doing a Gleeman and the Geek podcast there, complete with mic for questions from you. We’ll start around 11:30 AM and stay until…well, I guess that would be a third question. See you there.

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