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Run Revere Run

The poor man's Billy Hamilton is hitting his career worst .216, but his blazing wheels can still help your team's championship run.

Revere still can run, and you still can win with him.
Revere still can run, and you still can win with him.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

This is a Fantasy article, so it’s okay for me to talk about Ben Revere. He is obviously nothing more than a league average player in real life, who won’t contribute too much for the Nationals’ title run, but he can certainly help your team’s road to the Fantasy Championship.

This former first rounder can only do one thing on the field: Running. He used to do that so well, however, that his owners could reap a great profit out of him. Since his debut to last year, the speedster had used his groundball and speed combination to achieve excellent .295 BA and 45 SB per 162 games. He hasn’t hit under .305 since 2013, and he would have easily reached back to back 40 SB seasons if he weren’t traded to the Blue Jays, who obviously didn’t need him to run to score.

This year, not so much. He came back to the NL East as a National, but so far he could not get himself going. There were some minor injuries prevented him from performing at the high level, but his current .216 .263 .303 slash line is not why the Nationals traded for him to replace Denard Span as their leadoff.

His biggest issue this year is his .231 BABIP. He owns .317 career BABIP, and considering this guy can create more hits with his legs than anybody, the figure is extremely low. His problem comes from his career high fly ball rate (2016: 26.8%. Career: 16.4%). He obviously doesn’t have enough power to hit the ball deep, so his fly balls are the automatic outs for the most part.

The great news is that his legs seem to be fine, and he still have every intention to run. His 10 SB on the year does look bad at the first sight, but if we extrapolate his numbers on to 600 PA, he is actually on pace to attempt 32 steals. Last year, he attempted 38 times (31 success) in 634 PA, so he isn’t so far behind this year, especially considering he hasn’t been getting on the base all that much.

He is currently scoring 7.5 in Bill James’s Speed measure (7.0 + means excellent). His career score is 7.1, so his wheels seem to be working fine at age 28. Moreover, he should know better than anyone that he can only stay on the field as long as he runs, so his motivation shouldn’t be doubted.

As far as his swing goes, it is difficult to find any evidence that he has been doing something differently this year. His K-BB is still right around his career numbers, and he has been making same amount of contacts. One thing to note, however, is that he has been pulling the ball little more (2016: 37.9%, Career: 30.1%) and making more hard contacts (2016: 22.8%, Career 17.6%). When he first came up to the league, he literally possessed zero power (0 HR in his first 1562 PA), but it grew up to something like 2 HR / year. This year, he already cleared the wall twice in 61 games, so maybe his fly balls are byproducts of him being more confident about his swing (this is a wild conjecture anyway).

The important part is that he has been reaching the baseball little too early because he has been swinging harder, but his swing and miss rate is still 3.1% (Career 3.3%). This could actually be a positive development for a 28-year-old hitter, whose power supposed to reach its peak.

I know adding a hitter with .216 BA could be very scary, but all the signs are pointing towards his BABIP correction. His current slump could lose him some of his playing time and leadoff spot to Trea Turner, but the reward certainly outplays the risk here. He is probably the only freely available player who can deliver a Hail Mary in your SB category, so go ahead and add him if that’s what you need for your Championship run.

Rest of the Season Steamer Projection

LF Rank (Yahoo! Eligible)