Charlie Manuel needs to decide where his new center fielder will fit in his 2013 Philadelphia Phillies' lineup. Depending upon final decisions that the manager and his staff makes within the next week, Ben Revere could replace Jimmy Rollins in the leadoff spot.
It would be a leap of faith to put Revere in the top slot, because his .319 career on base percentage is lower than Rollins' mark (.328). However, Revere's OBP has risen during each of his first three major league seasons.
Rollins showed a renewed power-punch last season, when he belted 23 home runs. That total represented his highest amount of dingers since 2007, when he hit 30 bombs and won the National League's Most Valuable Player Award.
“J-Roll” had a .316 OBP last season. He also matched his 2011 stolen base total by swiping 30 bags. Revere had a .333 OPB in 2012 and stole 40 bases, which was six more than he had in 2011.
Because this former Minnesota Twins 2007 first round draft pick has never hit a major league home run, he won't hit third, fourth, fifth or sixth in this Phillies' lineup. Burying him in the seventh slot would waste his speed. Erik Kratz will hit eighth until Carlos Ruiz' 25-game ban expires.
General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. has created increased roster flexibility for Manuel this season. Not including the temporary catching situation, “Chuck” has the ability to write four new names on his lineup card when the season starts.
Putting Revere at the top of the batting order, while also positioning Rollins in a location that better serves his current offensive abilities, makes sense. That change in strategy would also allow a different vibe to flow from a potentially improved hitting machine.