Have Faith in Ben Revere
When Nationals GM and President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo traded for Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Ben Revere in early January, the team in the nation’s capital acquired a high-contact, speedy leadoff man capable of getting on base and moving into scoring position in order to set the table for the rest of the offense. After straining his oblique on Opening Day, the Nats were forced to place Revere on the DL before the home fans could even hear his walk-up song.
Revere missed 27 games, nursing the injury while the Nats jumped out to a strong start. A major concern for the offense, however, was the lack of production coming out of the leadoff spot. Michael Taylor had been the primary holder of that role, and was struggling to the tune of a .186 batting average. The lineup needed a steady presence at the top of the order, and upon his activation on May 6th, Revere was expected to seamlessly slide right in and provide immediate production.
What happened instead hasn’t been easy for Nats fans to stomach. Revere struggled even more than Taylor did. He has only two weeks of playing time under his belt, but there is already clamor for Baker to explore other options at the top of the order. Despite the pressure, the veteran manager has stuck to his guns and penciled in Revere day after day, waiting for the .292 career hitter to find his stroke. Well, the wait may finally be over.
Now, three games of solid performance are nothing to get worked up about. Anyone can get hot and have an impressive weekend of play, even a bench player. However, Ben Revere is no bench player, and there are strong indications that his luck could be beginning to turn.
Through 15 games this season, Revere sports a .214 batting average on balls in play (BABIP, courtesy of Fangraphs). That figure is the worst mark of his career, and drastically lower than his career number of .322. This is a result of some bad bounces that haven’t gone the center fielder’s way, despite his career-high hard hit percentage of 25 percent.
After closing out the road trip with an impressive three-game stretch in which he went 7-for-14 with a triple, four RBIs, and a couple stolen bases, Revere could just be getting started. If he has finally managed to push himself into Lady Luck’s favor, then he will be everything the Nats hoped for and more at the top of the lineup.
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