Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Evaluating Revere

(Before we get started, make sure you check out the information on this Saturday's TwinsCentric Twins gathering this Saturday afternoon at the bottom of this story.)

In Tuesday night’s podcast with Aaron Gleeman, we argued about Ben Revere for about 20 minutes. Aaron’s point (I think) is that people are getting all jacked up about guy who hasn’t been very good. My response was that given his defensive value, his youth (23 years old), inexperience (less than a half season at AAA), and the dearth of other positive stories this year, he’s been one of the bright spots.

(It’s a debate worth listening to, I think. I’ll be honest – by the time we finish each of these podcasts, I’m both wired and exhausted. I’m also almost sure that it sucks, but I publish it anyway. The next day I listen to it, decide it sucks less, and convince myself it might be worth my time to do it again next week. We would love your feedback on Twitter at @GleemanAndGeek.)

One doesn’t need to go far to convince oneself that Revere isn’t particularly valuable, especially at the top of the lineup. His on-base percentage is just .311 which is dangerously close to Carlos Gomez territory (career OBP: .289) – and he doesn’t have the power that Gomez could occasionally display.

For all the accolades that Revere has garnered, his OPS is just 610. Gomez cleared that in both of his years with the Twins, while also playing spectacular defense and stealing bases (33 in his first year with the Twins). Plus, Gomez was even younger than Revere. But he never received the love that Revere is enjoying now. Indeed, yours truly argued Gomez was an incredible liability – a liability with upside, but a liability nonetheless.

One reason for the lovefest might be that Revere has, despite those pedestrian overall numbers, seemingly made the most of his talents. If you look at his Win Probability Added (WPA), which measures how important his offense was in winning games, he grades out about average (-.17). So he’s provided average offensive production in the context of games, while playing a premier defensive position exceedingly well (+10.4 UZR). I’m going to stick with my label last night: bright spot.

However, this raises two questions:

1. Was Revere just lucky? That WPA outperforms his OPS considerably. Did he happen to get on base and steal bases at just the right time by chance? Or is it possible there is something about “piranhas” that provides extra value at critical times? I did a quick back-of-the-napkin study that I’ll share here tomorrow.

2. How can you set me (or Aaron) straight on our obvious ignorance? I suppose you could choose the yellow-bellied way out and use the comments below, but I’ll throw another option: tell us in person at the TwinsCentric event this Saturday afternoon. The TwinsCentric crew, plus Aaron, will be hosting a get-together for Twins fans at Manitou Station at White Bear Lake for the early Twins game. We’ll even be doing a Gleeman and the Geek podcast there, complete with mic for questions from you. We’ll start around 11:30 AM and stay until…well, I guess that would be a third question. See you there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gleeman & the Geek, Ep 6

How can a two guys talk about the Twins for an hour and fifteen minutes and not make you want to slit your wrists? I don't know, but I think Aaron and I just did it. (Though, I'll admit, the Wilson Ramos part got me close.) We recorded last night at the Mainstreet Bar & Grill in Hopkins. Amazingly, we held off on the $0.40 wings but Aaron indulged in a few Fat Tire ales. (Don't ask what I drank. I'm too ashamed.)
If, after a good hour and I talking, you actually want more, seek medical help. OR join us this Saturday when we'll join TwinsCentric's Parker Hageman, Seth Stohs, Nick Nelson and a host of other Twins fans in a kvetching session like we haven't had in a decade. This might be the worse season in 50 years. Don't miss your chance to wallow in the bitterness. You'll tell your grandkids about it.

PLUS, we'll be doing this week's recording of the podcast there, so you can ask us questions and tell us how stupid we are. We'll be at Manitou Station in White Bear Lake for the EARLY game of the doubleheader against the Tribe, starting about 11:30 AM. If you want to drown your sorrows for both games of the doubleheader, nobody is going to judge you. Unless by "judge" you mean "join."