Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Monday night, outfielder Ben Revere and the Minnesota Twins head to Progressive Field in Cleveland for the start of a three-game set. In 49 career at bats at Cleveland's home stadium, Revere has never hit a home run.
Maybe Monday will be the night Revere finally leaves the yard ... but probably not.
What you may not know about Revere is that he and I actually share something in common. It's an anguish we both share, a burden we have to suffer through every waking hour of our existence.
You see, neither of us have ever homered in a major league game. My playing days ended around the sixth grade (hopefully I did enough to cement my place in Cooperstown during my brief stint in Little League), but for Revere, there's still time for him to realize his dream of finally hitting a home run.
Just last week, Los Angeles DH Kendrys Morales hit two home runs in one inning. If Morales and his tired old legs can hit a jack why can't a promising 24-year-old like Revere hit one too?
I'm not holding my breath for Revere to go deep (he enters Monday's action homerless in 837 career plate appearances), but I'm still intrigued by the young outfielder's fantasy potential.
Revere, who was playing in Triple-A as recently as mid-May, is currently riding a 19-game hitting streak. That's the second-longest active streak in the majors right now (Miami's Jose Reyes has recorded a hit in 24 straight games heading into Tuesday's game against the New York Mets).
He went 7-for-18 (.389) over the weekend in Boston and since the start of the month, the 5-foot-9 Revere is hitting .409. During his streak, which began with a four-hit effort versus Baltimore back on July 16, Revere has gone 29- for-80 (.362) with 11 RBIs and 13 runs scored.
Revere, who has gained a reputation for his exceptional speed, has swiped nine bases since the second half of the season got underway back on July 13. Only Emilio Bonifacio of the Miami Marlins has recorded more thefts than the Minnesota rightfielder during that span (10 SB).
Revere's recent surge has lifted his batting average 14 points from .309 to a very respectable .323. He doesn't have quite enough at bats to qualify for the batting title just yet, but if Revere did, his .323 clip would be good for third-best in the American League.
Though Revere is in a tie for 451st in the majors in home run productivity this season, only five players in the bigs have stolen more bases than Revere has this season (27). And that's only in 73 games played. If Revere hadn't spent 23 games in the minors earlier in the year, he may have had a chance to reach 60 steals in 2012.
If power is what you covet, then obviously Revere is not your guy. His OPS is barely passable at .737 and his slugging percentage is a hideous .383. But if you can look past Revere's lack of power, you'll find a player with blazing speed who makes consistent contact (he strikes out in fewer than nine percent of his at bats) and hits lefties extremely well (.378 average in 98 at bats in 2012). Because Revere doesn't rely on the longball like most other hitters do, his current statline seems fairly sustainable.
Revere is no Mike Trout, but it looks like he could develop into something similar to Juan Pierre (.297, 581 SB in 1,839 career games) in his prime. If that comparison holds true, Revere should be good for a .300 average and 50 steals each year for the foreseeable future.
While Revere has been making noise in Minnesota, A.J. Pierzynski has been enjoying a similarly strong season with the White Sox on Chicago's south side.
Not surprisingly, Pierzynski's success has been met with little fanfare.
To give you a better idea of what the Chicago catcher's reputation is like, Pierzynski's former skipper and current Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen once had this to say about him, "If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less."
If we're using superhero metaphors, Revere is Batman to Pierzynski's Bane (the resemblance is uncanny when Pierzynski is wearing his catcher's mask).
Pierzynski, recently voted the most hated player in baseball in a poll conducted by Men's Journal, has accepted his role as the villain of America's pastime. But don't let that scare you away from owning him in fantasy.
Despite getting snubbed by All-Star voters earlier in the season (gee, wonder why), Pierzynski has had a brilliant season in 2012.
With his solo blast against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday, Pierzynski reached 20 jacks in a season for the first time in his career. Pierzynski turns 36 in December. Call him a late bloomer.
Pierzynski had launched only 17 home runs combined over the previous two seasons, so this offensive explosion has come as quite a surprise to the fantasy community. He's on pace to finish the year with 32 round-trippers, which would be the most by any catcher since Javy Lopez circled the bases 43 times as a member of the Atlanta Braves back in 2003.
The White Sox catcher has been especially heroic recently. He'll take a five- game home run streak into his matchup Monday night against Kansas City. Over the five games, Pierzynski has driven in 11 runs, while raising his average to .289, his highest since 2009 when he finished the year at an even .300.
The emergence of Revere and Pierzynski proves that fantasy stars can come in all shapes and sizes. Big, small, fast, slow, good, evil ... it's all par for the course in fantasy baseball. Despite their opposite skillsets, Revere and Pierzynski are both capable of providing the spark your fantasy team needs to stay in the hunt.
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