The Toronto Blue Jays fan base quickly grew restless following the Ben Revere trade. The pint-sized left fielder from Philadelphia has made a career out of singles and stolen bases, but when he landed with the Blue Jays on August 31st, the balls stopped falling.
Known as one of the best pure bat-on-ball hitters in the league, Revere has quickly changed the narrative over the past week which culminated in a big series against Los Angeles. In the 11 games since Toronto’s series against Oakland began, Revere is slashing .350 / .422 / .400. He then helped lead the charge over the Angels, going 8-for-14 with a double, one walk and three RBIs.
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Despite an arm that’s blatantly lacking, Revere also fills the outfield gaps well enough to give the Blue Jays a long-needed upgrade from the revolving door of Chris Colabello, Ezequiel Carrera and Danny Valencia. Revere brings a fundamentally sound game, one which the Minnesota Twins instilled upon him after drafting him, but his recent jump in production shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Revere’s 2014 season saw him tie with Denard Span for the most hits in the National League. Mostly singles, yes, but base hits nonetheless. Especially when you consider Revere’s speed, which put him fourth in Major League Baseball last year with 49 stolen bases. I’m fascinated that Revere still has not attempted a steal with the Blue Jays, but with Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista following you in the order, perhaps staying on base and awaiting your home run trot is just as important as advancing.
Circling back to Revere’s contact rate, his 12.3 AB/SO was third in the big leagues and will continue to serve him well. Tulo’s struggles at the top of the lineup will fuel the cries for Revere to move into the leadoff spot, but I’ll argue that production out of the nine-hole has been one of the Blue Jays greatest weapons this season.
Whether it be Devon Travis or Revere, the bottom spot in the order has often been a steady source of base runners. If that ninth spot were followed by a more “average” group of top-three hitters, perhaps it wouldn’t matter, but with a murderer’s row coming on Revere’s heels, his value can be extremely high.
The reaction to Revere’s addition still puzzles me, and very few people disliked the trade solely based on the loss of Jimmy Cordero and Alberto Tirado. Something seemed “wrong” with Revere, not enough of an upgrade for this high-flying lineup, but as he’s beginning to show us, his skill set can be yet another catalyst for this freight train.