Welp, one of the main points from my article yesterday turned out to be incorrect. Ben Revere will not be the Twins starting center fielder next year. Revere was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies today, for starting pitcher Vance Worley and starting pitching prospect Trevor May. This move seems to further the notion that the 2013 Twins will be a part of a rebuilding process. However, if the Twins continue to make moves like this, and continue to acquire young starting pitching in exchange for players that come from a place of organizational depth, the rebuilding process could accelerate significantly.
I’ll miss Ben Revere. He was very fun to watch. I have often made points that there are players that we think are better than they actually are and players that we don’t realize are as good as they actually are. I felt that Denard Span was better than what we see, and I feel that Revere is not as great as we think. He didn’t get on base all that well, for someone with his batting eye and speed. You can read about how BABIP really influences his value, if you read what I wrote yesterday. He has zero power to speak of. However, his exciting defensive plays and stolen base prowess make him an exciting player. He is young and cheap, so he has value. Clearly, the Phillies agree. From an entertainment stand point, this is a huge loss. From a personnel standpoint, this is a loss the Twins can absorb.
Vance Worley will join Scott Diamond in the rotation next year. Worley is very much a Twins style pitcher, as he puts a lot of balls in play and relies on his defense. While that is true, he can get strikeouts. In his MLB career, he has a 19.9% strikeout rate. This is certainly higher than most of the Twins pitch to contact stars of the past. League average is 19%, so Worley is right there. He is 25 years old and has 2 full-ish seasons under his belt. In 2011, his K rate was higher and he had better luck with balls on play, and that resulted in a good season (3.2 WAR). In 2012, his K rate dipped and he gave up a lot more hits, which resulted in a 0.7 WAR season. If he can pitch like he did in 2011, this trade is a win for the Twins. Of course…
Trevor May was also included. May is another good prospect from a National League East team. May was drafted in the 4th round of the 2008 draft. He is 6’5″ and can hit mid-90s with his fastball. He has three secondary pitches (curve, slider, change) and all can be great at times. He needs to work on his command. The Twins have shown that they can develop control, so this could still be a challenge and command does not necessarily equal control. His strikeout rates in the minors have been consistently good. His walk rate should be monitored closely. If he can improve in that area, he can be a great pitcher. Right now, he’d probably be the Twins’ 3rd best starting pitching prospect, behind Alex Meyer and Kyle Gibson. Add in Jose Berrios and the Twins legitimately have 4 good starting pitching prospects. They have doubled this number in the course of 10 days. Not bad.
What does this mean for the 2013 Twins? First, with improved command, May could debut next year. It might not be until September though. His command and control will dictate his ETA. In addition, center field is now wide open. I am guessing Aaron Hicks, Joe Benson and even Darin Mastroianni will be given a chance to win that job. Hicks might be the front runner, but Benson has the chops as well. Do not count him out. Hicks remains the most logical choice, as he could also fill the newly formed void at the top of the lineup. Mastroianni could be a dark horse, as he has the requisite on base skills and fielding ability to handle the job until Hicks and/or Benson are ready. Regardless of who wins the job, the reality is that the 2013 Twins could be significantly worse, with the loss of Revere and also Denard Span.
While 2013 could be another lost season, the future looks bright. The Twins are making shark moves right now. Getting Worley AND May for a borderline starting outfielder is a big deal. Revere is super fun to watch on the field, but also a very replaceable player with a very limited skill set. He may improve, but he may always be Juan Pierre with a big smile.
I think this move might also signify that more moves are on the way. I am guessing the Twins would happily move Justin Morneau for another pitcher. They would be smart to try to move Josh Willingham as well. The returns they received for Span and Revere show that they have to be open to this idea. In addition, the Twins would be smart to take calls on Ryan Doumit and even *GASP* Joe Mauer. Although, I’d need to be blown away to trade Mauer.
All in all, this Revere trade was a true shark move (obviously, I love that term). They traded a popular, although expendable player for the most important missing resource in the system. They got not one, but two young pitchers under team control for many years. Terry Ryan has been maligned for doing nothing this off-season, and that may be true in the free agency world. It is important to remember history though, he has built this team from the bottom once, and seems to be on the way to doing it again.