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". Revere has endeared himself to fans with his diving catches, breathless attempts at inside-the-park home runs, and his infectious, omnipresent smile.
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.
BW: You mentioned Span. Is he a pretty big mentor to you?
BR: He is number one. I remember my first spring training when we both got sent back down, and he was disappointed. He wanted to be up here, and I told him, "Don’t worry man, you’ll be up there real soon. You never know." Luckily, he did go back up. I’ve just been watching him, seeing him in the top 10 all the time, and also seeing the way he hits and the way he plays. We got the same style of play as leadoff guys who are speedsters and outfielders. He can hit for power but is mostly a gap guy who can steal bases. I just learn from him. He’s like an older brother to me. He just tells me what to do and what not to do so I don’t get in trouble with the big boss (Ron) Gardenhire. He’s meant so much and has been such an inspiration to me since I’ve been up here, and I love every minute of it.
BW: Is he more of a mentor on the personal side or the professional side?
BR: I’d say both on the field and off the field. He kind of helps me out, and he’s trying to get my clothes game up a little bit since we get bigger paychecks. *laughs* But, he kind of helps me out just to make sure I keep my head on straight so I don’t fool around and get myself in trouble with some of these coaches. On the field and off the field, he’s been a big help to me.
BW: Your first call-up occurred last year towards the end of the year. Could you break down the feeling when you found out you were coming to the bigs?
BR: Actually I didn’t think so because four or five weeks before that I was hit in the face by a fastball. I finally got back playing for a week or two, and all the sudden I was getting ready for one of our games at Double-A and our manager pulls me into his office real quick right before the game started and told me I was going to the bigs. I just started freaking out. I called my mom, and she was going crazy crying and stuff. It was a lot of fun, and I knew at that time that it was real serious now and that I had to get it going.
BW: What is your best baseball memory as an amateur and as a pro?
BR: Especially getting drafted, that was probably the best thing. As a pro? Playing every day up here. I never dreamed that I would be doing it up here, playing with these guys and facing all this good pitching and great players. They’re the best in the world. I’d say that probably my best memory is just playing every day up here and hopefully I have another one saying we win the World Series. Right now, I’m just having fun up here trying to help the Twins win some games and get back in the race, and playing every day. Hopefully I’ll get that ring on my finger.
BW: You’ve played left, center and right field. What do you prefer, where are you most comfortable, and why?
BR: I don’t really care, as long as I’m up here playing with these guys. Some guys always complain that they get moved to a position, and that’s how they start struggling. You’ve got to really fight just to play multiple positions, because you never know, when you get older they might switch you because young guys are coming up. So, it really doesn’t matter to me. As long as I play, I’m happy. I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that wherever I was playing, I was going to play my tail off, try 110 percent, no matter what. That’s always been in the back of my mind.
BW: Any final thoughts?
BR: Nah man. Just have to get out of here and get some sleep for the early game tomorrow. *laughs*
This interview originally appeared at UpperDeckReport.