Scouting Twin Prospect #21: Trevor Plouffe

The Twins selected Trevor Plouffe with the 20th overall selection in the 2004 draft, and he was quickly dubbed the team's shortstop of the future. However, he has struggled the past two seasons, and needs a solid 2007 season to get his career back on track. Here is our #21 ranked prospect:

Vital Statistics:
Name:Trevor Plouffe
Position: Shortstop
DOB: June 15, 1986
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 175
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

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 was labeled as the best shortstop prospect in the Twins organization not long after.

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.

During the 2005 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.

In 2006, Plouffe once again struggled with full-season pitching, though he did play in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. The young shortstop batted only .246 for the Fort Myers Miracle, though he did set a career-high with 112 hits. He should be able to bounce back in 2007, but he may need some more seasoning in the FSL before he makes the jump to Double-A ball.

Batting and Power. Plouffe has not shown what kind of hitter he is the past two season, but he did hit 13 home runs as a member of the Beloit Snappers in 2005. He is a guy who could be a tremendous gap hitter, and he does have the stroke to hit over 20 home runs a season during his career. He needs to work on his batting eye, but once he gets more reps and at-bats, then he should go right back to being the top middle infield prospect in the Twins organization. He has some competition at his position now, so that may drive him to become a better overall player.

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 has committed way too many errors so far in his professional career.. However, he is still rated as one of 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. The rise of Jason Bartlett as an overall player should slow down the fast-tracking the Twins have been doing to Plouffe, and he should be able to settle down during the 2007 season. He has some stiff competition in the middle infield now, so it will be up to him to really begin to flourish in the upcoming season. If he can work on his game, and go back to being the prospect he was two years ago, the he should take his place at the top of the prospect depth chart. However, if he continues to struggle at the plate and in the field, then he may be leapfrogged by some of the other middle infield prospects.

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