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Article: Twins Minor League Report (7/30): Wiel Wields Bi...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 10:49 PM
The Twins and White Sox went to extra innings for the second straight game. Unfortunately in that game, the Twins fell by one. The minor...
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Berrios Back?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:45 PM
Kevin Oklobzija from the Democratic and Chronicle in Rochester posted a couple of tweets that were interesting, and they were followed by...
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Article: Where Should Jorge Polanco Play?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:23 PM
Seemingly a minor note in the Thursday night news that the Twins had traded Eduardo Nunez for Adalberto Mejia was the fact that Jorge Pol...
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Article: GM for a Deadline

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:53 PM
This offseason I played the part of GM For a Day and swung a bunch of trades and made Joe Mauer my new right fielder. The Twins didn’t fo...
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Any updates on Thorpe?

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 09:49 PM
I know Mono can be pretty nasty. I was just curious if he's been seen floating around FTM and if the team plans on getting him some innin...
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Will Trevor Plouffe's Hot Start Continue?

[FONT=Arial]Attached Image: USATSI_7864842.jpg Trevor Plouffe was essentially an afterthought this winter viewed as a third base placeholder until Miguel Sano takes the position from him. By the grace of the inelasticity of an elbow ligament, Plouffe's job security increased considerably. Sano's misfortune would be Plouffe's godsend. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]And, to his credit, the 27-year-old has made the most of this opportunity.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]After several seasons of mishandling the hot corner and minimal offensive contributions, Plouffe's game took giant leaps forward in 2014. Defensively he has looked improved and the magical defensive metrics reflect it. Offensively, there have been signs that he has matured as a player like using the entire field and laying off pitches out of the zone. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]Of course, Twins fans have gotten excited once before for the big breakout.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]In 2012, Plouffe gained attention by hitting roughly 750 home runs (estimate) in June and July. At that time, I documented his mechanical changes since his rookie year that allowed him to pull the ball with such might. By quieting his bat movement and aggressively deploying his hips, he fired red-seamed rockets into the outfield bleachers. [/FONT][FONT=Arial]Part of what made that stretch so successful for Plouffe was his ability to let it fly early in the count. According to ESPN/TruMedia, he was 14-for-26 and banged 7 of his 14 home runs in that situation. [/FONT][FONT=Arial]Of course, the baseball bombardment would not last as teams adjusted to his new approach and Plouffe could not reciprocate in kind.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]Following what felt like a lost year in 2013, Plouffe overhauled his strategy at the plate and refined his mechanics in order to become a more complete hitter.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]The first change was improving his base. Prior to this season, Plouffe demonstrated a wider stance with his weight distribution on his back leg. This season, the stance has been shortened and his distribution is more balanced.[/FONT]

Posted Image

[FONT=Arial]In his swing, or more specifically his leg lift, we see a muted version of the front leg lift. Over the previous two seasons, Plouffe used a higher lift and shifted more of his weight onto his back leg before shifting forward. Not only that but he also This creates a situation with plenty power but also overcommitting to fastballs and the selling out on the pull-side. Now, with his balanced approach, he is able to allow the ball to travel deeper while staying back. This gives him the ability to drive the ball hard to all fields with impressive results -- he is hitting a robust .333 when driving the ball to right field and .357 up-the-middle. [/FONT]

Posted Image[FONT=Arial]2012[/FONT]

Posted Image[FONT=Arial]2013[/FONT]

Posted Image[FONT=Arial]2014[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]
Plouffe explained this change in his approach to 1[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]500ESPN.com’s Derek Wetmore[/FONT][FONT=Arial] at the end of April by saying:[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]"If you're thinking about using the middle of the field -- the big part of the field -- usually your bat path will stay through the zone longer. As opposed to if you're thinking about going out and getting a pitch and trying to pull it, you're going to be quicker through the zone, out to where you want to catch up with the ball," Plouffe said. "So if you got a pitch on the outer half of the plate when you're trying to do that, you might slice it, but when you're thinking about using the big part of the field and your barrel is through the zone, then you generate a little bit more power."[/FONT]


[FONT=Arial]Will this approach be sustainable?[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]Plouffe has thrived this year by smacking pitches that have remained up in the zone for hits. In fact, his .340 average on pitches in the upper-half is 100 points better than the average. It is clear that this trend has been spotted by opposing teams when you consider how Plouffe has been pitched as of late and his performance in that time (.132/.175/.211 since May 1).

[/FONT]

Attached Image: Plouffe.jpg
[FONT=Arial]Now, as you can see from the ESPN heat map, teams are throwing him down-and-away. Over his career he’s hit just .128 on pitches in that area and is a miserable 0-for-17 this year when putting those balls into play. Perhaps as a result of this new attack, Plouffe has also started to stray from his newfound approach of swinging at just pitches in the zone. Prior to May, Plouffe chased after 15.5% of pitches out of the zone, says ESPN/TruMedia. This month he’s expanded this region and offered at 26.7% of all out-of-zone pitches. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]Unless Plouffe can adjust to that plan of attack -- or capitalize on mistakes -- he is almost certain to see his numbers fall. That being said, Plouffe’s maturity and willingness to make these changes bodes well for his ability respond. [/FONT]


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