Twins outfielder Ben Revere is a polarizing prospect. His backers see a high-contact hitter with blazing speed. His critics point out that the 5-foot-9, 175 pounder rarely gets the ball out of the infield and may be bullied by pitchers at the highest level. It's far too early to make a definitive judgment about the 23-year-old, but those shouting warnings about Revere's hitting ability have been right so far.
Revere's triple slash in 2011 (.264/.291/.295) is devoid of walks or power. And pitchers, knowing that the worst Revere can do to them is slap a single the other way, are challenging him to hit pitches over the plate.
Opponents have thrown Revere a fastball or a sinker about 68 percent of the time, which is the highest rate among MLB hitters and well above the 57-58 percent league average. And 53 percent of those fastballs/sinkers have been thrown within the strike zone (51 percent average). Revere's in-play slugging percentage versus fastballs and sinkers is chock full of blue:
Revere's in-play slugging percentage against fastballs
Revere has a .300 slugging percentage versus fastballs/sinkers, while the league average is .439. The lefty batter has one extra-base hit against a fastball in 2011: a double against Chicago's Gavin Floyd on June 15.
Similarly, pitchers are pounding the zone when they do decide to throw Revere breaking stuff. Over 57 percent of the curveballs and sliders that Revere has seen have been within the strike zone, compared to the 45 percent league average.
Revere's in-play slugging percentage against breaking balls
Revere's .231 slugging percentage against breaking balls is well short of the .351 league average.
One might look at Ben Revere's three percent walk rate and assume that he's hacking, but that's not the case. Rather, pitchers see a hitter who can't do much extra-base damage against them, and in response, they're throwing strikes and forcing Revere to prove that he can hit in the majors. After all, why tiptoe around the strike zone when the worst the batter can do is poke a single through the infield?