Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The latest in the lineage of Puckett

The Twins have created an assembly line for producing major league outfielders. The older, veteran player passes on his knowledge to the up-and-coming star. This passing of the gavel is something that has been seen in the last two decades as the Twins transitioned from Kirby Puckett to Torii Hunter to Denard Span. The newest player to enter this lineage that stretches back to the great Kirby Puckett is Ben Revere.

Twins fans were given a glimpse of Revere at the end of the 2010 season, but there is still more to come from the budding outfield prospect. In his short time with the Twins last season he batted .179 in only 28 plate appearances. This was after never playing at AAA and making the jump straight from AA. He is only 22 years old and he has much of his career still ahead of him.

The connections between Revere and Puckett don't just stop at their OF position. Take a look at this two stat lines provided below:

Rookie League
Player A: .382 BA, .438 OBP, .491 SLG, 43 SB
Player B: .325 BA, .388 OBP, .461 SLG, 21 SB

Single A
Player A: .314 BA, .366 OBP, .442 SLG, 48 SB
Player B: .379 BA, .433 OBP, .497 SLG, 44 SB

Can you figure out which stat line corresponds to Revere and which one corresponds with Puckett? (The answer is later in the post).

Puckett entered the Twins minor league system in 1982 as a 22-year-old in the rookie league. Revere entered the Twins organization as a 19-year-old that came right out of high school. All of last season Revere played at AA and the major leagues as the same age as Puckett was in the rookie league season. Because of his age and his ability level, Puckett flew through the minor league levels. He skipped AA and only made a brief stop in AAA. The Twins are able to take their time when developing Revere and this extra time could help Revere in the long run.

Did you solve the question that I posed a little earlier?

Player A: Kirby Puckett
Player B: Ben Revere

At the onset of their careers there are some connections between these two players. They both showed a tremendous ability to steal bases. Each of these players had the ability to get on base and disrupt the rhythm of the game. Their ability to hit for average at every level of the minor leagues is well documented. Most of all they each possess an infectious smile (see visual evidence below)
An Infectious Smile
Revere and Puckett are two different players but they offer the same type of skills because of the body types they have.  Each of these players is under 6 feet tall and around the same playing weight (even though Puckett's fluctuated toward the end of his career). Puckett was a Hall-of-Fame hitter and Gold Glove winning outfielder. Revere has shown the ability to hit at every level in the minor leagues and his defense continues to develop. Puckett did show the ability to hit for power and that is a skill that Revere has yet to posses. Revere could develop more power as he continues to work on his swing and his physical stature.

Will Ben Revere be the next Kirby Puckett?

Anytime a prospect is compared to a Hall-of-Famer, there is a lot of pressure applied to a young star. Revere has the tools to be a very good major league player and Twins fans will continue to follow his path back to the majors. It is a tall order to fill, but a smile and a passion for winning can go a long way to continue the lineage of Puckett.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Great post. I really do value the Twins' tradition of excellent center fielders, and especially the teaching element from generation to generation.

Maybe it's the fact that I was around for and vividly remember Kirby's rise to fame, his heyday, unexpected retirement, Hall of Fame induction, and sad death, but I feel like the lineage is beginning to dilute. Nothing against Hunter, because he had great years in Minnesota, but he was never the offensive catalyst that Kirby was. Span (though another good player) is unlikely to even be in the same ballpark as Kirby offensively or defensively. I think I'm certainly waxing nostalgic about Kirby, but I doubt that any of these players in our center field pedigree could ever become what Kirby was, and still is, to the Twins. That being said, I think Revere is a great prospect and I look forward to the day when he makes the big club.