The last post suggested that if Ben Revere is going to continue to hit for (almost literally) no power, he’s going to need to dramatically improve his walk rate if he’s ever going to post a wOBA above league average. He could also try hitting like .340 or so, but let’s just assume that’s not going to happen.
There are, though, guys who walk at the rate Ben Revere has, 5.2% of his plate appearances in 2011 and about 5.4% in 2012, and still post a wOBA better than league average.
Here’s the list of the guys over the past five seasons who have gotten enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and walked in between 5.2% and 5.4% of their plate appearances as well as their FanGraph‘s calculated wOBAs.
|% BB||wOBA||League average wOBA||ISO|
|’08 — no players||-||-||-||-|
So there are 16 instances over the past five seasons of a player with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title who also walked in 5.2% to 5.4% of his plate appearances (like Ben Revere).
Of those 16, seven had a year in which their wOBA was league average or better.
If you’re never going to walk, or walk about 5.4% of the time or so, the two most likely ways to do that are to hit for a monster average or hit with monster power. Or a combination of the two.
Adrian Beltre, who does not appear on the table above, is the king of posting huge wOBA numbers with a low walk rate. He does both. In 2012, Beltre was ninth among the 143 qualified players across both leagues with a .388 wOBA despite a walk rate of just 5.5%. He hit .321 with 33 doubles and 36 home runs. In 2011 he walked in just 4.8% of his plate appearances but was 22nd across both leagues in wOBA, thanks to hitting .296 with 32 homers.
Ben Revere is never, ever going to hit for monster power.
Of the seven guys who got to average or better, five of them did it showing very good isolated power. Those five are: Pierzynski in 2012, Viciedo in ’12, Soriano in ’11, Guerrero in 2010 and Marlon Byrd in 2009. Of that group of five, the worse isolated power mark is Dayan Viciedo’s .188 in 2012 — he hit 25 home runs in 543 plate appearances for the White Sox last year. The best isolated power mark of that group of five is the .225 for Soriano in 2011.
The other two guys who fill out the list are Placido Polanco in 2010 and Erick Aybar in 2009. Those guys made it to league average or better (although just barely in Polanco’s case) for wOBA despite not walking and not hitting for power.
Polanco hit 298/339/386 that year with an isolated power of .088. Revere can hit .298 and can even on-base .339. We’ll have to wait and see, but an isolated power of .088 seems like it might require a little wishful thinking. Polanco didn’t steal any bases in 2010, just five for the year. So that’s an element Revere could bring to his wOBA to deliver a ’10 Polanco-like year without as much power if he does not improve his walk rate.
Aybar hit .312 in ’09, posting a 312/353/423 line with a .340 wOBA that put him well above league average. His isolated power of .111 for the year was even better than Polanco’s and seems well out of reach for Revere.
So, if Revere’s going to get to league average or better in wOBA, it looks like there’s a bunch of things he’s going to have to do in combination to have a chance to get there — hit for a real high average, steal a whole lot of bases without getting caught hardly at all, increase his walk rate and do as much as possible to deliver some more power. The power from year to year is probably going to be a fluke — you’re not going to see him hit the ball out of the yard ten or five or probably even three times in a season. What you might see is a bunch of weird bounces that give him five or seven doubles in a year that turn into triples, which would do good things for his isolated power.
Recent Phillie rumors include 1) the Phillies are interested in Alfonso Soriano and may have offered Domonic Brown straight up for him and 2) the Phillies have offered Josh Hamilton a three-year deal.
The linked article points out that if Josh Hamilton was willing to take a three-year deal there would be a whole lot of teams interested in giving him one.
The White Sox got Jeff Keppinger on a three-year, $12 million deal.
This article mentions Joe Saunders, Chris Young, Carl Pavano, Derek Lowe, John Lannan, Jair Jurrjens, Kevin Millwood, and Chien-Ming Wang as the type of player the Phillies might target to fill out their rotation. Both Pavano and Jurrjens were awful in 2012, but they seem to me to be the guys on the list with the biggest upside for 2013.