DOB: June 15, 1986
Trevor Plouffe was a two-way baseball star in high school, as he was one of the better pitchers in the country as well as being a top middle infield prospect. The Twins were unsure of where Plouffe would project in the future, and they did not decide he would be a position player until a few months before the draft. He ended up signing for 1.5 million after being taken by the Twins with the 20th overall selection in the 2004 draft, and quickly took his spot as the best shortstop in the Twins farm system.
He began his professional career as a member of the Elizabethton Twins in 2004, and quickly showed he was ready for professional baseball. He batted .283 in 60 games as E-Town's starting shortstop, and played well enough for Baseball America to name him the sixth best prospect in the entire Appalachian League. He hit four home runs, seven doubles, two triples, and drove in 28 runs.
Last season, Plouffe got his first taste of full-season baseball, and may have been one that Plouffe would like to forget. Not only did he struggle with the bat, but he struggled with the glove as well, which is something that surprised most of the Twins' brass. Still, he was only 19 for most of the season, and has more than enough time to put 2005 in his rear view mirror.
In all, he batted only .223 last season, and committed 35 errors in the field. He did hit 13 home runs, and was ranked as the 12th best prospect in the Midwest League by Baseball America. There is no doubt that he should improve on all his statistics in 2006.
This season, Plouffe is batting .259 as a member of the Fort Myers Miracle, and had a six-game hitting streak snapped on Friday. He continues to struggle with the glove though, as he has made four errors in his first nine starts. He should turn it around, and will put together a good season in 2006.
Batting and Power. The 2005 season aside, Plouffe has shown the ability to be a good hitter. He had a miserable start to last season, but in the end, became one of the biggest threats in the Beloit lineup. He has the power to be a 20-home run a year guy, and will probably hit in the .275-.290 range. He has quick hands and a good batting eye, but needs to become more complete as a hitter. Once he gains more experience, he should be fine, but the Florida State League is not hitter-friendly, so he shouldn't be completely judged by what he does this season.
Baserunning and Speed: Plouffe has average speed, and is not really a threat on the basepaths. While he did steal eight bags in 2005, he only has ten in his career, and is not going to win any stolen base titles in his career. He is a smart baserunner though, and is not a liability when he gets on. He also has enough speed to leg out triples, and in some cases, turn singles into doubles.
Defense.Here is where it gets tricky, because Plouffe has all the tools to be a top of the line defender. The problem is, he has not shown those kinds of results since coming into the organization, and now has 55 errors in 198 career games. However, he is still rated as the best defensive infielder in the organization, mostly due to his soft hands and a rocket for an arm. No-one is really sure why is having so much trouble with his glove, but now that Paul Kelly and Andrew Thompson are in the system, he may improve due to the addition of infield depth.
ETA. 2009.With the way that the Twins are in not really having a shortstop of the future, Plouffe may be pushed to advance sooner than later. He is still very young, but he could make a Joe Mauer-type rise through the organization, considering Jason Bartlett was not able to hold down shortstop and now the Twins are relying on guys who should have been utility infielders this season. He'll have a full year in 2006 in High-A, and should be in Double-A in 2007. From there it is really how much they push him. The safe play is 2009, but he could make his debut as early as 2008.