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Can Ben Revere Win The Batting Title?

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Sat, August 23, 2014 11:10 AM | Comments: 12
Analysis, Opinion, Posts, Raising Questions, Statistical Analysis

All Placido Polanco Ben Revere does is hit. He’s been a hit machine recently, and has pushed himself up to 2nd in the NL in batting average, only behind Justin Morneau of the Rockies.

But can he pass Morneau? Revere has been on an outstanding hot streak since June, leading MLB in average over that span. He also hasn’t struck out or walked much, either.

Why he will win it

Revere has finally settled into his groove. He’s seeing the ball extremely well, and his lack of patience is made up for with his stellar ability to make contact. Only Denard Span of the Nationals makes contact at a higher rate than Revere.

He’s on a hot streak right now, and his confidence at the plate is at a season high. He’s making it look easy.

Morneau, on the other hand, hasn’t been as good lately. If (a big ‘if’) Revere doesn’t cool off, he’ll win the batting title easily.

Why he won’t

While Revere undoubtedly can make contact with the ball at an extremely high rate, the contact he makes isn’t necessarily good. He leads MLB in contact %, but also ground ball %, and obviously ground ball/fly ball %. He doesn’t hit many solid line drives, as most of his hits are ground ball singles.

He doesn’t walk, and doesn’t hit for any kind of power, which means his plate appearances usually end in either a single or an out. Out of 477 plate appearances so far, only 29 have not ended in either a single or an out.

He can easily be dealt with by having pitcher sort of “pitch around” him, knowing he will still swing. Although he doesn’t chase balls out of the zone too much, he hardly ever sees pitches out of the zone. He’s seeing the most in-the-zone pitches in all of baseball according to Fangraphs. However, he’s 6th in MLB in the rate at which he makes contact with pitches outside the zone. If pitchers pitch around him more, I think Revere will struggle a ton.

There’s also the injury factor to consider. He is often limping around the field after his PAs.

Verdict

I don’t think he’ll do it. I would love to see it, but I just don’t think he will stay this hot through September. I think he’ll cool off and finish in the top 3 in the NL in average. He just doesn’t make enough solid contact to sustain such a high average, in my opinion. However, he’s been fun to watch these last few months, a rarity with this current Phillies team.

Avatar of Jonathan Nisula

About Jonathan Nisula

Jonathan Nisula has written 224 articles on Phillies Nation.

Just a regular guy writing his thoughts for Phillies Nation. Grew up in Yardley, PA and current student.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    “I would love to see it,” (Revere win the batting title).

    This may sound like a dumb question….scratch the like, and call it a categorically dumb question, but is there a reason you would love to see it?

    I tend to sound like a dues paying member of the anti-Revere brigade at times, which I’m not, but overall, there’s not much connection to him.

    Does it change your view of him as a player (really shouldn’t). Does it alter the thinking of the vociferous throngs that belittle his ability at every frequent chance (doubtful, and shouldn’t because it doesn’t show an improved area of his game).

    This season is such an atrocity that it’s sinful to look at one of the few positives and view it apathetically, but that’s how it feels.

    Now as to whether he will or not, different than if one cares, I’ll take my chances on a differing view. I’ll go with his continuing to hit for high average the rest of the way, and squeaking out the title. Hunch work.

    Fangraphs artcle this week on Revere’s empty batting average, and about 2 weeks ago, Gelb with Jonah Keri on his Grantland podcast on Revere and a number of other Phillie topics.

     
    • Posts: 0 Jonathan Nisula

      I’m a fan of Revere’s. I’ve met him, hung out with him. He’s a cool dude. It would be awesome if he could get the title.

      It wouldn’t change my opinion on him as purely a baseball player, though. I think we all know at this point it would be a pretty mediocre batting title season when you factor in the rest of his stats at the plate.

       
      • Posts: 0 Skylar0201

        Like you, I am also a fan of Revere. I realize that he’s a singles hitter without much power at all but here are a few reason’s I hope he wins it:

        1. It would give ESPN something to talk about that *isn’t* something to do with the Yankees, Red Sox, or Bruce Harper.

        2. It wasn’t expected at the start of the season.

        3. It would show literally, that he can get on base even without drawing many walks.

        4. It also takes away *all* excuses that players say they didn’t perform well because of leg injuries; especially considering the dude is on pace to steal nearly 50 bases while playing *all* season with a bum and painful ankle!

        5. It would be something Revere wins that Victorino never did.

        6. It would be our only bright spot in an otherwise forgetful offensive season.

        Not all necessarily in that order but I love Revere because he plays the game as hard as he can and is our last throwback player since Aaron Rowand, *and* he’s not whining about his teammates lack of production; especially since they’re making much more than him too!

        Keep it up, Revere!!

         
  • Posts: 5085 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Fangraphs also shows Revere as the second best baserunner in MLB as well. Yes it’s true he doesn’t provide power, but I stumbled onto one stat -and it’s probable correlation to Revere’s outstanding base running numbers- to be remarkable.

    The Phillies lead the league with lowest number of and percentage of double plays hit into. Surely that has something to do with the team’s base running, and it’s leader in that category Ben Revere.

    So Fangraphs can go ahead and call his high average “empty”, to me it’s not. I’ve felt for a long time that speed, base running and stolen bases are undervalued. I think that if you took every positive stolen base, and added it somehow to slugging percentage, the number would then not look quite so empty.

    Anyway back to the subject-

    I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think if Revere can stay healthy with that screw in his foot, he will win the batting title. I think in his case that his ground ball rate almost helps him.

     
    • Posts: 0 Skylar0201

      *Bryce*

       
    • Posts: 0 Jonathan Nisula

      I agree with you that it isn’t completely empty. It’s not like his hits aren’t valuable.

      Good find on the base running stat, too.

       
    • Posts: 0 Skylar0201

      Thanks, Lefty, I forgot to mention his speed when it comes to ground ball percentage and how that tremendously prevents him from being doubled up!

      I have loved Revere since the moment we got him and I hope as long as he can get on base as often as he does and has the heart to play through painful injuries, we keep him as long as possible!

      Revere and Utley are our only 2 offensive everyday players who I hope are with us in 2015. Everyone else should be expendable for the right prospects.

       
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    That’s a good goal for Ben.

    I am out tonight and wont have internet till tomorrow (not jail)

    So go Phillies must win tonight.

    And lets hope the Mets lose.

    They are feeling the pressure from the fightin Phils

    We can do this!

     
  • Posts: 5085 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Yes that’s true. He doesn’t drive in the massive number of pitchers, and fabulous number 7 and 8 hole hitters that get on base before him. It’s shocking that he can’t get the likes of Reid Brignac, Andres Blanco, Dom Brown and Tony Gwynn home, just shocking :-)

     
  • Posts: 0 Jonathan Nisula

    In 2000, Luis Castillo had 180 hits and 17 RBI

     
  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    Re the low rbi total for number of hits, sure that doesn’t shine as a positive. But you get into the RBI as a team dependent stat, it kind of softens it.

    But what might be a little more telling is this factoid that a guy who abhors Revere as a player has been harping on all year, and there is a degree of merit to his point.

    “Revere went 0 for 4 when leading off an inning (1st, 3rd, 5th and 12th
    innings) and is now hitting .263 with an OBP of .274 when leading off an inning
    – the worst leadoff hitter in baseball when actually leading off an inning,
    despite his meaningless bating avg.”

    So if you like Revere, and want him playing in your lineup, that speaks more to his limit as a leadoff guy. And a review of his last couple years shows no real difference in leadoff ability
    So where do you put him? When you consider that a problem of even larger proportions exsists in the 4 hole, no easy answer is apparent, PARTICULARLY since it’s not just those 2 parts of the lineup that aren’t going so great.

    The limited effectiveness of leading off seems more draining than the RBI thing. Although prototypical leadoff hitters are a rare breed anymore

     
  • Posts: 0 schmenkman

    Jonathan is right, Castillo is the gold standard for high hits/low RBIs.

    Revere is on pace for 182 hits and 18 RBI.

    These are the fewest RBI for 175+ hits:
    17 with 180 – Luis Castillo 2000
    24 with 178 – Don Blasingame 1959
    26 with 181 – Patsy Dougherty 1904

    Or looking at it the other way, most hits with 20 or fewer RBI:
    180 with 17 – Castillo 2000
    161 with 19 – Morrie Rath 1912
    150 with 20 – Richie Ashburn 1959
    148 with 16 – Clyde Milan 1910
    145 with 14 – Revere 2014 (if his season ended today he would already have the 5th highest hit total in history for anyone with 20 or less RBI)

     
 
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