Diamond Mind Baseball, the simulation game, teaches me that center field is the most important position not only for range, but for OF arms. I don't know for sure that that carries over to real baseball, of course, but it makes sense. You have to make some pretty long throws -- many about as long as your typical throw from RF -- and you have to make a ton more of them. In that game, a bad outfield arm can cost you something like 10-12 runs per year (vs. 2-3 runs from a left fielder, 5-7 from a right fielder), and as I think about it, that seems about right to me.
I'd put Revere in left for that reason. There are a lot of teams on which Revere would be the best defensive option in center, but I don't think this Twins team, assuming Denard Span is healthy, is one. Span himself has excellent range, and an averageish arm. By my reckoning, to make it worth putting Revere in center, his range would have to be 7-10 runs a year better than Span's, and Span is good enough that I just don't think there's anybody who would reliably be that. I think the balls Span doesn't get to that Revere might have will be more than outweighed by the extra bases Span's arm prevents. It helps, of course, that you've got Revere's range in LF, not dragged down (to nearly the same degree) by the bad arm.Then you free Span up to kind of cheat toward right-center, minimizing the impact of having Willingham (or, gulp, Doumit) out there, and when he makes the plays a good RF might have, you don't have to cover your eyes when he winds up to throw it back in...
I think it's extremely close, but that Span in CF is just barely the better option.
Great analysis. I don't understand how they wouldn't look at the difference between the two seasons and get him back on track delivering like he did in 2010 for this year. That will definitely be a thing to watch at the beginning of the season.
I honestly think that with a larger left field at Target Field, I think Revere's value as a defender won't be completely lost if he plays there. And, obviously, his arm better suits him there than anywhere else.
I'm not quibbling over how he would play in left field - I'm certain he would be a very much above average left fielder. The difference is that - on average - a center fielder gets 100 more balls hit in their direction over the corner outfielders. My preference would be to have the best fly catcher of the two in that position to create more outs. So far, that person is Ben Revere.
Some days, Ben Revere's arm will cost the Twins a run or two and some days his range will save a run or two. The problem is that giving up a run because of a lack of arm strength is typically easier for fans to see (than saving a run because of great range).
I honestly think that with a larger left field at Target Field, I think Revere's value as a defender won't be completely lost if he plays there. And, obviously, his arm better suits him there than anywhere else. My bigger concern is that Ron Gardenhire will from time to time put Revere in right field. That makes me cringe.
One thing that I cannot help but look forward to is a potential outfield that consists of Joe Benson, Aaron Hicks, Denard Span, and Revere. Hicks and Benson are premier defenders, both capable of playing in center field in terms of range and arm strength. That could be a real treat if everything works out for both of them at the plate.