'Little Puckett' climbing Twins' ladder

Revere honored by nickname, but compares self to Span

Ben Revere is seventh in the Eastern League with a .307 batting average. (Kevin Pataky/MiLB.com)

By Matt Stucko / Special to MLB.com | June 16, 2010 4:47 PM

At his first Major League Spring Training this year, Twins outfield prospect Ben Revere was nicknamed "Little Puckett" by his teammates after Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett.

"It's crazy, you know, but it's an honor," Revere said. "He was a big-time Twins player and everybody loved him. I'm just trying my hardest to be like that by helping the Twins bring a championship back to Minneapolis soon."

While the Puckett comparisons are drawn, the 5-foot-9, 175-pounder likens his style of play more to another Twins outfielder -- Denard Span.

"After watching him in the big league camp, I thought we had a lot of similarities," Revere said. "We each hit a lot of line drives and occasionally throw in the doubles, triples and home runs along with the speed, arm and ability to hit leadoff."

This season at Double-A New Britain, the 2007 first-round Draft pick is hitting .307 with eight doubles, a triple, a homer, 17 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in 57 games out of the leadoff spot.

"He is a guy who is natural," Rock Cats hitting coach Rudy Hernandez said. "I don't try to tell him to do too much because he has been doing well all these years."

Hernandez also was the hitting coach at Class A Beloit in 2008, when Revere batted .379 with 17 doubles, 10 triples, a homer, 43 RBIs and 44 steals in his first full professional season. Last year, he was a Florida State League All-Star at Class A Advanced Fort Myers.

"When I first saw him this year, he came up to me and said, 'Hey, Rudy, we're together again,'" Hernandez said. "If he ever struggles, like he did a bit in the beginning of the season, I always try to remind him that he has great hands, so if sees the ball ... hit it."

Last month, Revere heated up. He turned 22 and celebrated by winning Eastern League Player of the Week honors for the period ending May 23.

Hernandez has been working with Revere on keeping his hands inside and taking the ball up the middle as well as being more selective at the plate.

"Now, at a high level, the pitchers start to recognize how aggressive he is, so they will come at him with off-speed stuff [on the] first pitch," Hernandez said. "So far, he has made all the right adjustments with patience while still being aggressive because now he can look for off-speed pitches and hit them. He is real smart at the plate and knows how to make adjustments quickly."

In 215 at-bats, Revere has drawn 25 walks while striking out only 20 times.

"I have always been a really aggressive player," he said. "Even in high school I was like that. My coach would tell me not to swing at bad pitches, so that's when I began becoming more patient."

Revere also is aggressive on the basepaths. Since his days at Beloit, he's worked on his baserunning with Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, another Twins coach. He's stolen 131 bases and has been caught only 44 times in 311 Minor League games.

"You need someone like him to teach you those skills because the catchers keep getting better. They have great arms, great footwork and can get you out like that," Revere said. "Hopefully, I can be up there with Rickey Henderson and all those big-time basestealers and be in the record books."

Defensively, Revere's speed allows him to cover a lot of ground. He'a also been working hard with New Britain's strength coach and trainer to improve his arm strength with lifting and long toss sessions.

"He is a guy that you see him right now and, in a few months, you will see big progress because he works hard and he is very smart," Hernandez said. "This kid is going to be a good player for the Minnesota Twins in the future."

Matt Stucko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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