Position: Shortstop/ Third Base
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 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 was able to bounce back in 2007, as he had a great season with the New Britain Rock Cats.
For the Cats, Plouffe hit .274, his highest total since his time in Elizabethton, and he hit a career-high nine home runs. He appeared a lot more comfortable at the plate, and displayed good power, and a feel for the game. He set career highs in stolen bases, and was one of the better middle infielders in the league.
In 2008, Plouffe returned to New Britain, but he would split his time between the Rock Cats and the Rochester Red Wings. Once again he hit close to .270 for the Rock Cats, and Plouffe was called up to fill a need at the AAA level. He showed good power once he got to Rochester, smacking six home runs in only 66 games, and put himself in position for a major league call up at some point in 2009.
During Spring Training, Plouffe drew raves from Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire, who feels that he should be able to contribute to the team this season if needed. Plouffe will start the season as the Red Wings' shortstop, and I expect him to be in Minnesota at some point.
Batting and Power. Plouffe has shown a good batting eye at the plate the past couple of seasons, and looks like he could be a serviceable hitter in the Major Leagues. Plouffe has shaken off some tough season in the beginning of his career, and now is very confident when he gets to the plate. He does not have much power, but he is a great gap hitter, and looked very good in Spring Training this year.
Baserunning and Speed: Plouffe has average speed, and is not really a threat on the basepaths. 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. His career-high in stolen bases is 12, meaning he does not run much, but he could get you around ten a season.
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.
ETA. 2009. Plouffe has put together two good consecutive seasons, and he is slated to make him Major League debut at some point during the 2009 season. With Nick Punto at shortstop to start the season, the Twins do not have a legitimate shortstop, and if he struggles, the Twins may turn to Plouffe, who is a natural shortstop. Punto played very well last season, and it may take a while for Plouffe to get to the Majors this season, but count on him being there at some point.