The Off the Grid series highlights players outside the top 250 that have a great chance of becoming start worthy even in standard leagues. Minnesota’s Ben Revere will kick things off. He is the 285th player on Mock Draft Central’s big board, the 81st outfielder drafted. He is being picked in 41.9% of drafts.
Revere has one elite fantasy tool – his speed. In 481 plate appearances last year he stole 34 bases at a 79% success rate. Adding the eight steals he had in Triple-A gave him his third 40-steal season as a professional. Aside from the gaudy SB totals there are other indications that Revere will continue to burn up the base paths. His 7.1 Speed Score was among the top 10% of all qualified hitters. He was also seventh with 26 infield hits.
Revere has very little power, but that could actually enhance his running game. He had 120 hits and 106 of them were singles. Since most steals are of second base rather than of third or home Revere is consistently in the best position to tack on a SB.
As a batter, Revere seems to know his limitations and how to cover them up. He has a sky high 68.5% ground ball rate and equally astounding 5.74 GB/FB. Aside from killing worms, it always gives him a chance to reach base. Rather than uppercutting and hitting fly balls that die halfway into Target Field’s power allies he puts pressure on the opposing defenders. Perhaps no other player will benefit as much from playing nineteen games against Jhonny Peralta and Miguel Cabrera on the left side of the Detroit infield.
Revere’s below average 5.4% walk rate is a blemish, but a minor one. A low 8.5% strikeout rate accompanies it, resulting in a strong 0.63 BB/K. He does not expand the zone; both his swing rate and chase rate are well below league average. He is one of six batters to have a swinging strike rate under 3.0%. With his style of hitting, his .293 BABIP could improve significantly. Only 4.0% of his fly balls stayed on the infield, very few of his balls in play are “automatic” outs. Even a moderate increase would bump his .310 OBP above the .321 league average.
In the end, identifying sleepers is all about value. It is smart to wait for Revere instead of spending an earlier pick on another one category outfielder like Peter Bourjos (133), Coco Crisp (155), Juan Pierre (190), Rajai Davis (238), Jose Tabata (246), or Jason Bourgeois (257).
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