Comparing Ben Revere to Nook Logan

Note: Post was written on March 12. Truths may be falsehoods by the time you read this.

So Nook Logan was trending on FanGraphs this morning. Still is, in fact, as of this writing—he is eighth on the “Major League Players” list, sandwiched between Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig—and that piqued my interest. So I looked at his FanGraphs profile. Upon this inspection, I found that Logan seems to compare quite favorably to another center fielder who started with an AL Central team and moved to a NL East team: Ben Revere. Logan, from a quick glance at his stats, appears to have good speed, but no power and a good glove, but no arm: all traits possessed by Mr. Revere.

First, let’s establish each of these characteristics.

Logan stole exactly 23 bases in each of his two full seasons: 2005 with Detroit and 2007 with Washington. Revere has played three full seasons, with at least 34 steals in each of those seasons, plus another 22 in an injury-shortened 2013. So maybe Revere has more speed. According to their Speed Scores (Spd), where Logan is rated at a 7.4 and Revere at a 7.0, Logan is faster, or at least utilizes his speed better. Both are “Excellent” scores, though, and the FG glossary tells us to look at UBR, so we do. “Hmm,” we say. “Revere has a much higher UBR than Logan.” And yes, this is true. And yes, Revere also has higher values in everything related to base running. So we’ll say that Revere is a far superior baserunner despite Logan’s slightly better speed.

“No power” is not hard to determine. Logan has never had an ISO above .089. Revere has only had two ISOs above .100, and he hit a combined one home run in those seasons (his first two minor-league seasons). He was just hitting and running, and getting a lot of triples. Such is the life of a minor-league speedster. But I will take this time to mention something: Revere has a career K rate of 9.1%, only rising above ten percent three times—once in the minors, once in his “cup of coffee” 2010, and once in his injury-plagued 2013. His walk rate, though, is bad. Like really bad. Like it was barely above the amount of fat in my milk last season bad. Logan, on the other hand, had a better (and more consistent) walk rate, hovering around six percent his entire career (save for an 8.6% rate his rookie year). But he struck out a ton. Or, rather, he struck out a normal amount, then got sent down by the Tigers and started striking out a lot more, and continued to strike out at high rates after being dealt to the Nats. I don’t know what to make of this data, but it is a dissimilarity.

Now we turn our attention to a section I didn’t mention in what an English teacher might call my thesis sentence: batted-ball rates. Both men hit a high amount of ground balls, over 50 percent in all but one season (Logan’s short 2006 campaign, when he hit only 46.7% ground balls, is the lone exception). This doesn’t give us the full picture: while Logan certainly hit his fair share of grounders, he also hit a fair amount of fly balls, checking in at 29 percent for his career, with a 7.9% infield fly rate. Revere, on the other hand, hit so many ground balls that it might be considered unhealthy if he weren’t so doggone fast. Revere has managed to hit about one-seventh of his BIP in the air, and only 3.4 percent of that has been represented by popups. So, um, Logan hit more fly balls, but the same amount of home runs (two). Say what you want about the fact that he would have four in Revere’s sample size.

And now, defense: the hardest part to talk about, because there are so many ways to statisticize (that can’t be a word) it and none of them have become the “standard” method of measuring defensive contributions. First, we’ll only be discussing Logan’s and Revere’s performance in center field, because it is their primary position and also because they have played a not-dissimilar amount of games at that position. First of all, when normal people (I’m weird, you’m weird, everybody’m weird) talk about defense, they think of errors and assists, probably. Or just they think of how many times they saw that one guy make that one catch—you know, the one where he dives, makes the catch, makes another, leaping, catch at the wall, and then throws out all twelve baserunners, including the guy going from fifth base to shortstop, saving the game and making it onto the Top Ten playlist seven hundred million times. Okay, that was a lot of mumbo-jumbo that basically meant, “normal people don’t think in terms of UZR and TZL, they think in terms of highlight plays and errors”.

And now, the actual discussion of defense. Logan had eight assists, 11 errors, and a .985 FLD% in 306 games. Revere had 13 assists, 13 errors, and a .986 FLD% in 362 games. So it can be said that both are players who do their job mostly, but also have little to nothing in the way of arm strength. ARM thinks that they’re basically the same player, but UZR thinks that Logan is eighty times better at defense than Revere, so okay. They have very similar Fielding values, though. ¯\_()_/¯

So yeah, maybe this served no point, but I like writing semi-pointless things about semi-obscure players. Maybe you can expect more of the same in the future.

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They only thing I can say about Logan, was watching his debut, or one of his earliest games on my package in 2005. He hit a base hit up the middle against the Twins that Torii Hunter didn’t charge very well and it turned into a double. Wow. I drafted him for my Roto team in that week’s free agents and he stunk.