Phillies center fielder Ben Revere never had the problem that fictional character Willie Mays Hayes from the movie “Major League” had, where he would have to do 20 pushups every time he hit a ball in the air. Revere knew right away that he never would be a home run hitter from the leadoff spot, that he would have to make it in the major leagues by beating out ground balls and hitting line drives. Revere has yet to homer in 1,027 career major-league at-bats. It’s quite a contrast from when Jimmy Rollins hit leadoff for the Phillies, swinging for the fences more often than trying to bunt his way on or work out a walk. That’s not to say it’s better for the Phillies, only that it’s different to have an old-school approach to a spot in the batting order that is increasingly becoming a power spot. Revere has hit first and Rollins second in each of the Phillies’ nine games this season heading into their weekend series against the Marlins in Miami. “If I pop it up, I’m in big trouble,” Revere said. “I’ve got to use my speed as much as I can. They can’t make errors (on balls) in the sky, but they can on the ground. I have to stay with it. It’s a big strategy for me. That’s my game and that’s where I want to be.” That strategy is becoming increasingly rare in baseball. Last season, 10 players hit at least 10 home runs from the leadoff spot, compared to just four in 1990, when Rickey Henderson was the exception more than the rule. Angels rookie Mike Trout, the Millville standout, led the way last season with 30 homers from the leadoff spot. Rollins was second with 23. The player with the most at-bats from the top spot in the order without a homer last season was Willie Bloomquist with 227. Revere had 143 at-bats in the leadoff spot last season for the Minnesota Twins. The Phillies traded for him last December in exchange for pitchers Vance Worley and minor-league prospect Travis May.
Speed fills the leadoff need
Courier-Post | Apr 12