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December 7, 2012

Transaction Analysis

Revere Rides Into Philly

by R.J. Anderson, Mark Anderson and Jason Wojciechowski

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

MINNESOTA TWINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired RHPs Vance Worley and Trevor May from the Phillies for OF-L Ben Revere. [12/6]

Worley is the non-prospect portion of the Twins’ return on Revere. The bespectacled right-hander popped up on radars after holding a 2.86 ERA through his first 144 2/3 big-league innings. Last season, however, was less kind to Worley. Bone chips and a bone spur in his throwing elbow twice forced him onto the disabled list, and he missed from September onward thanks to surgery. When Worley pitches, he does so from a downhill angle. His velocity is nothing special, but his fastball features solid movement, and he backs it up with a slider; he’ll also throw a curveball and change-up on occasion. Worley is a solid fourth starter with years of cost and team control remaining. If nothing else, he beats Joe Blanton on a two-year deal.  —R.J. Anderson

After acquiring Alex Meyer in a previous trade with the Nationals, the Twins continued their trend of adding more powerful arms by picking up right-hander Trevor May from Philadelphia. A fourth-round pick of the Phillies in 2008, May has moved through the minor leagues at a more traditional pace, including a repeat of High-A in 2011 before moving on to Double-A in 2012.

May has a serious physical presence, standing 6-foot-5 and checking in at almost 220 pounds. He uses his large frame and long levers to create good angle to the plate, helping make his 92-94 mph fastball even more difficult to square up. He has reached 96 mph on occasion, and he could flash that type of velocity more frequently in shorter stints. May’s curveball has true plus potential with hard 12-6 break and surprising velocity, sitting in the upper-70s. May’s change-up remains a distant third pitch and still rates as decidedly below average.

Even with two high-end pitches, May is held back by his delivery. While he has smoothed things out some, his mechanics remain inconsistent and incorporate a lot of effort to generate his power. As a result, his command and control are both well below-average and really haven’t made any strides in the last couple of seasons. May has the arsenal to start, but his delivery may work better in relief where he can air it out and not have as much pressure to throw refined strikes. As a starter, he will likely require the entire 2013 season to polish his game (and possibly more), but as a reliever, he could reach the big leagues next year. —Mark Anderson

ATLANTA BRAVES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Agreed with OF-R Reed Johnson on a one-year contract [12/6]

Let's start with the things I know, or think I know, about Reed Johnson. I haven't opened his player page yet.

  1. Reed Johnson is an outfielder.
  2. Reed Johnson has played for both the Cubs and the Blue Jays in the past.
  3. Reed Johnson has never topped 350 plate appearances in a season.
  4. Reed Johnson bats from the right side of the plate (from the pitcher's perspective).

Time to check! ... Johnson was actually a full-time player for the Blue Jays from 2004 to 2006, so I was way off on #3, but as to the rest, hey, I'm good. If you check out the current projected roster for Atlanta, you see that the bench outfielders are ... well, the inimitable Jason Martinez actually updated the roster while I was writing this. But before he did that, the bench outfielders were Jose "Real But Not Exactly Spectacular" Constanza and Jordan Schafer, both of whom are left-handed. Johnson's 2013 PECOTA projection (.250 True Average) does not far outstrip Constanza's (.247), but his career line of .311/.367/.461 against lefties is helpful and Schafer cannot hit at all. Like not even a little bit. Johnson has also continued to play a little center field even into his mid-30s. There's no obvious platoon in the offing, as the Braves currently feature two righties (B.J. Upton, Martin Prado) and one superstar (Jason Heyward) in the outfield, but in scrounging for a true fourth outfielder and late-game option against lefties, teams can and do find a lot worse options than Johnson. —Jason Wojciechowski

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired OF-L Ben Revere from the Twins for RHPs Vance Worley and Trevor May. [12/6]

Everyone knew entering the offseason that the Phillies would need a new center fielder. Michael Bourn seemed like the pick to click, yet Ruben Amaro resisted the temptation to add another older player to his club and instead grabbed Revere.

The 24-year-old Revere shifts to center field after playing the corners for Minnesota out of deference to Denard Span. While his plus-plus speed should allow him to cover the necessary ground, his well below average arm could be an issue. Likewise, Revere is reliant on maintaining a good batting average because of his lagging secondary skills. He makes a lot of contact—often beating the ball into the dirt—but his swing mechanics feature a lot of hand movement before and during the load. Revere is also good at swiping bases and advancing the run of play, which boosts his offensive stock.

Revere’s skills add up to a decent player. He won’t make an All-Star team at his best, and he might be better suited as a fourth outfielder if his secondary skills fail to develop. He is, however, the rare Phillies acquisition without a large price tag. With another cost-controlled year and five more team-controlled years remaining, Revere is a budget-friendly addition. Is Amaro becoming financially conscious on us, or is he just saving the dough for something bigger? —R.J. Anderson

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here
Mark Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mark's other articles. You can contact Mark by clicking here
Jason Wojciechowski is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jason's other articles. You can contact Jason by clicking here

Related Content:  Ben Revere,  Reed Johnson

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