Twins believe it would be in Ben Revere's best interest to bunt more
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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- In 2011, American League hitters dropped down 1,226 bunts.
Nearly half of those were sacrifices, but on the other 600+ non-sac bunts, the average bunter reached safely at a .424 clip.
Juan Pierre led the major leagues with 18 bunt hits in 43 attempts (.419). He also dropped down 19 sac bunts for a total of 62 bunts in 711 plate appearances last year.
In the National League, Emilio Bonifacio tallied 16 bunt hits in 32 tries (.500).
Nine other major leaguers had at least 10 bunt hits -- Peter Bourjos, Erick Aybar, Michael Bourn, Danny Espinosa, Austin Jackson, Brett Gardner, Tony Gwynn, Jr., Danny Espinosa, Corey Patterson and teammate Alexi Casilla. And each of those nine reached base at a .320 clip or much higher.
Minnesota Twins outfielder Ben Revere would seem to fit right in with the aforementioned slap-hitting speedsters. But in 130 career major league games (511 plate appearances), Revere has four bunt hits.
He has attempted only 16 career bunts.
That number should probably be doubled, at least, based on Revere's speed and inability to drive the ball. And the Twins are trying to get him to drop down bunts more frequently.
"They work on (bunting) every morning," manager Ron Gardenhire said Monday. "So it only makes sense if you're going to put that much effort, getting up early going out working on your bunting, that you might want to try it in a game as many times as you can. This is the perfect place to do it, to try a bunt here and there. He's going to get better at it, but the only way to do it is in a game. ...
"If you don't try it, you're not going to get better at it."
Against the Pirates on Saturday, Revere dropped down a perfect drag bunt between the mound and the second baseman, giving Pittsburgh no chance to make a throw. On Monday he went 0-for-3 with three groundballs against the Rays, once reaching on an error then stealing second and advancing to third on a bad throw. But no bunt attempts.
This offseason and spring, Revere has worked closely with Rod Carew, who -- along with being one of the best pure hitters of all-time -- was regarded as a great bunter as well.
"A bunt's almost a double with (Revere)," Gardenhire said. "That's the process we're trying to put in his head. It could be a triple the way he runs -- steal second, steal third. He's that type of player. So really, that is the only thought process with him, is use your speed. You're not going to hit homers. He's going to slap the ball."
Revere has plenty of competition for outfield playing time with Trevor Plouffe in the mix, and with Joe Benson likely lurking at Triple-A Rochester. If bunting more often leads to a higher batting average and higher on-base percentage, it only makes sense to add more to his repertoire.