Ben Revere has met and exceeded expectations at every level he's been at to this point. From being hailed as a 'signability' pick in the MLB draft to scouts suggesting he'd get the bat knocked out of his hands, it's been an uphill battle for a player who describes himself as a "goofy kid".
UDR's Brandon Warne chatted with Ben following the Twins' 3-2 victory Tuesday night over the Tampa Bay Rays and Cy Young candidate James Shields.
Brandon Warne: How would you introduce yourself to Twins fans not really familiar with you coming up through the system?
Ben Revere: Just a goofy kid; a little short black dude who is really fast. *laughs* No, but I’m a great Christian person. I just want to treat everybody with respect always; I was born that way. I’m a southern boy from Georgia/Kentucky, so you know “southern hospitality” is always first, always saying “yes ma’am, no ma’am.” But, as an athlete? I’m always just playing baseball as one of those quick guys that hits line drives and ground balls, steals bases, gets walks, and scores runs. I’ll let the big guys behind me hit me in. I’m just one of those types of guys at the top of the order just trying to get on base to score runs.
BW: Can you talk about the process of being scouted in Kentucky, and about being groomed for the draft?
BR: During that time, I never thought I’d ever be drafted or even go to a big time college. I remember junior year, just going through all this stuff and a couple scouts I remember came and watched some games. Come senior year, it was one of those years that was pretty crazy. Actually, my junior year, I went to play for my Kentucky baseball club, and I went to all these tournaments and stuff, and all these college scouts came and started calling me a little bit.
Then my senior year came around, and everything just blew up all over the place. That’s when I started getting recruited by Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Clemson and some schools on the West Coast. I thought I was already going crazy, and then pro scouts started calling me. Then came draft time, and the Twins picked me up. Obviously, I was ecstatic. I didn’t know what was going on. I thought I was dreaming for a second, so it was nice.
BW: As the draft came near, what was the buzz around where you were expecting to be drafted?
BR: They told me in the second round or later. I kind of told them that if I wasn’t drafted in the first round, I was heading to college. Luckily, a couple things happened in the draft and the Twins picked me up. I was watching in my house with a couple of my buddies, so it was really nice. It was a lot of fun. My mom and dad were so happy. My mom was bawling.
Then I signed for under the slot bonus. My dad told me I was going in there and that I had to come ready to play. Even though I was a first rounder, I didn’t sign for that much, so if I went in there and fooled around, the Twins could have gotten rid of me quickly. So I felt like a little mouse thrown into a snake pit, and I had to fight my way out, I told myself. Every day and every night I prayed, “Lord, just keep me safe, and just help me to keep battling.” Luckily, everything worked out for the best.
BW: So you were committed to Georgia and have said you wouldn’t have signed for less than a first round pick. Not even for a second round pick?
BR: No, just first round. Even though I wasn’t one of the big guys, my advisor said I should go first round, and if not I should go to college and get even better and hopefully get picked up in the first round then.
BW: You touched briefly on what it was like to hear your name selected. What was the situation around draft day? Did you have a party at home or anything like that?
BR: Not really. I was down in our basement, and I wasn’t really going to watch it because I was too nervous. I figured, whatever happens happens. But I never knew, because some said I had a chance and some said maybe not. All of my buddies called me and said they were coming over to watch it with me. My house is in Richmond, and all of my buddies from high school are from Lexington, so they drove 20 minutes down just to watch it with me. I thought that was cool, and luckily everything worked out for the best. They had a bunch of cameras there, like at least three or four of them in my house. It was unbelievable, and a lot of fun that day. I still remember it to this day, because everyone was jumping up and down, my mom was crying and my dad was going crazy. It was very inspirational.
BW: After getting drafted and signed, it was time to get to work in the Twins’ system. Can you explain what it was like to come up in the system and work hard every day to get better?
BR: We had some great coaches and scouts in this organization, and they’re top notch. They’ve really helped my game a lot. We’ve had some Hall of Famers, like Paul Molitor and Rod Carew, during spring training come over and even during the season. We have so many hitting coordinators and pitching coordinators that either help me work on my hitting, or my throwing, or even my base running. I think since I was drafted, people could tell I’ve gotten a lot better in every part of my game, so I just have to give it all up to them, because without them I wouldn’t be here right now.
BW: When you made the jump to the major leagues, what was the biggest adjustment to your game?
BR: Just being more patient. In the minor leagues, the umpires’ strike zones are huge. Here, they’re a lot smaller, so they’ve been telling me to be more patient at the plate, and swing at pitches I want to, and to draw more walks. I’ve just been working out with a couple of guys and just learning from that. I’ve been learning from (Denard) Span just by watching his at bats and seeing how patient he is. Just watching that and watching film, I think I’ve gotten a lot better at that, and I think my strikeouts have gone down a lot since I have been working up through the system.