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The Future of Trevor Plouffe

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#1 stringer bell

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 05:28 PM

Trevor Plouffe became the primary third baseman for the Twins in 2012. If I recall correctly, Plouffe was the last resort for filling the hot corner. In midseason he had a great power surge hitting a Ruthian 18 homers in 39 games from May through early July. He hasn't matched that power since.

While his power hasn't come close to the power surge, his overall game has improved. He now is regarded as adequate as a third baseman, he has improved in using the whole field, and has improved his discipline.

Plouffe recently turned 28. He came to the big leagues as a shortstop, and has played a few games at second and first. He also started a handful of games in the outfield before being installed as the regular third baseman. With the delay in the arrival of megaprospect Miguel Sano, Plouffe figures to be the regular third baseman for the duration of this season. He has suffered a disabling injury and missed 15 days, but he does project to have his all-time high in games played and plate appearances.

Plouffe was arbitration eligible this winter, but wouldn't be a free agent until 2018. It appears that the Twins made a good decision to keep him on the team by tendering a contract.

The club and player have decisions to make with Trevor--Sano is on the horizon, so he might not be long as the regular third baseman. and it will cost more to retain his services each of his remaining "arb years".

The Twins could trade him. He still isn't expensive compared to a free agent and an acquiring team would have team control for three years. The Twins could make Plouffe a bench player or a super-utility player who could fill in at whatever corner vacancy occurred, and if there was no vacancy fill in all over the field giving regulars a day off. Plouffe could be handed a new position, altogether. It looks like there will be at least one corner outfield vacancy. Finally, and most unlikely, Plouffe could continue at third with Sano moved or traded.

I like the progress that Plouffe has made. I think that he should remain a Twin and perhaps be moved to left field. He probably will never again bomb homers like he did in '12, but he is an improving hitter and fielder, who seems to have matured on and off the field. The versatility he presents allow him to potentially solve one of several position problems for the Twins.

#2 HansGruber

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 05:58 PM

I am not a big Plouffe fan but have always hoped Plouffe would come around. There seems to be a lack of alternatives so he will continue to play the hot corner until better options are ready (Sano). His defense has improved but his offense has sputtered since his power surge that you mentioned. Not sure he would fetch much in a trade so his future is likely that of a bench piece. Even in that role he doesn't hold much value in my opinion.

#3 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 08:18 PM

I'm not too sure how to view Plouffe in the way you envision his usefulness in the future.

Sure, it would be great if he was a super utility guy, and also as a corner outfielder, but I have a hard time envisioning these ideas coming to fruition.

1. Plouffe has finally settled in at one position, and has held his own. This has brought
stability to his career and he is settling in impressively.

2. Terry Ryan admitted 2+ years ago that Plouffe as an Outfielder was a disaster. Why do we keep pushing Plouffe as a Corner OFer? I know things change, but the optimism on this subject is downright ridiculous.

3. I do not think that Sano is a sure shot at 3B. After his TJ surgery, no one can know his overall outcome. The dude will hit HR's, but anything other than that is a guessing game.

4. I view Plouffe as third baseman. If he needs to converted to a different position to make room for upcoming prospects - you should then trade him.

5. This whole converting Plouffe to be an outfielder, roving utility player, is confusing to me. There are no signs of this being a possibility or any writing on the wall indicating as such.

Plouffe is a third baseman. Nothing more, nothing less.

There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.


#4 whydidnt

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 09:18 PM

Well, I think we've seen enough of Plouffe to know that he may be adequate on a bad team. He is not a starting 3B on a championship level team. The Twins seem to be happy with accepting mediocrity, and embedding guys like Plouffe in the lineup, but winning teams look to improve when they have a guy like him starting at a key position. I think it's safe to say that he is what he is at this point.

#5 Shane Wahl

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 10:47 PM

I had an original 6 guys that I would pick to trade from (Willingham, Suzuki, Morales, Correia, Fien, and Duensing) but now I would add Plouffe and Escobar as well. Plouffe is not going to get better than he is right now (aside from continual marginal defensive improvement). It just isn't there, but he is OK.

#6 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 10:53 PM

Well, I think we've seen enough of Plouffe to know that he may be adequate on a bad team. He is not a starting 3B on a championship level team. The Twins seem to be happy with accepting mediocrity, and embedding guys like Plouffe in the lineup, but winning teams look to improve when they have a guy like him starting at a key position. I think it's safe to say that he is what he is at this point.


There have been many championship teams who have had much worse players than Plouffe not just at third base, but at every position.

Hot damn! What is with all the Plouffe hate and a grip load of folks thinking he is the the artery blockage of the MN Twins? Pagliarulo and Leius were way more disappointing than Plouffe in 1991. Really??? There are much, much, much bigger fish to fry. (puke)

There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.


#7 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 11:02 PM

Self Guilt Note: Pags and Leius did a great job in 1991.

There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.


#8 tmerrickkeller

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 11:09 PM

Totally agree with Bark's Lounge. This team has had worse players on its "good" rosters. TPlouffe is a big upgrade off the bench from what we have trotted out over the years and have right now, both as a utility player (with experience at several positions, which hasn't been the case for several others), or as a regular in lieu of an injured starter at several positions. He's not the defensive stalwart of LNP (who many here, for many years, vilified as a sure out), but he's versatile, has some pop, and is young and experienced at the same time. And cheap (did I mention cheap?) which, regardless of what many yearn for, still stirs the pot at HQ.

#9 ND_TROOPER_GUY

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 12:19 AM

2. Terry Ryan admitted 2+ years ago that Plouffe as an Outfielder was a disaster. Why do we keep pushing Plouffe as a Corner OFer? I know things change, but the optimism on this subject is downright ridiculous.

Plouffe is a third baseman. Nothing more, nothing less.


I say keep him on the roster even after Sano is eventually ready. I think he can move around enough to play a corner spot. This year has shown us that the front office has had difficulties having adaquete outfield reserves. The hot trash thats played in the outfield this year would make Plouffey seem like a demigod. I like Plouffe in a utility role and bat off the (post Sano). Flip him two years from now when the kids are up and running.

#10 Shane Wahl

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 12:29 AM

Trevor Plouffe is 28 with a career triple slash of: .241/.304/.411 (.714) in 1685 appearances. There is no disputing the general and total averageness of these statistics. It's not going to get any better for him.

#11 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 04:57 AM

I think you offer him arb and hold on to him for at least one more year. Sano is going to need some time in the minors next year anyways, so Plouffe holds down the spot for 2015. If this improvements are for real and continue, he'll have more value next offseason than presently. That also gives the Twins an insurance policy of Sano struggles next season.

#12 Blackjack

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 05:32 AM

I think you offer him arb and hold on to him for at least one more year. Sano is going to need some time in the minors next year anyways, so Plouffe holds down the spot for 2015. If this improvements are for real and continue, he'll have more value next offseason than presently. That also gives the Twins an insurance policy of Sano struggles next season.


This. Sano is at least a year away, he'll need a few months in the minors to shake the rust off, let Plouffe keep playing, maybe he'll find his home run stroke again and become a valuable trading chip by this time next year.

Side note: Plouffe came up as a shortstop, made it all the way to the majors, and THEN Twins management decided he couldn't be a ML shortstop!!! Why did it take so long?? Why wasn't he playing a different position in the minors??

#13 drjim

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 06:38 AM

Perfectly fine stopgap while cheap and waiting for Sano. I suspect Plouffe won't be in his way once Sano is ready.

I was on the move Plouffe to LF idea, but the reality is that he just doesn't hit enough to concern with that. Once his time at 3B is done probably will be time to move on.
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#14 old nurse

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 06:46 AM

Side note: Plouffe came up as a shortstop, made it all the way to the majors, and THEN Twins management decided he couldn't be a ML shortstop!!! Why did it take so long?? Why wasn't he playing a different position in the minors??

Alexi Casiila was the 2b of the future Macri was the 3b of the future as Plouffe was coming up through the system. When Macri stalled out, there was Hughes and Valencia for 3b. Last man standing, Plouffe.

#15 whydidnt

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 06:55 AM

There have been many championship teams who have had much worse players than Plouffe not just at third base, but at every position.

Hot damn! What is with all the Plouffe hate and a grip load of folks thinking he is the the artery blockage of the MN Twins? Pagliarulo and Leius were way more disappointing than Plouffe in 1991. Really??? There are much, much, much bigger fish to fry. (puke)


I agree that teams that win championships often have guys like Plouffe starting somewhere. However, they are not the type of player you build around. As stated, he's adequate on a bad team, or as a bench player. However, I think the Twins too often try to build around guys like Plouffe and are far too willing to accept mediocrity at too many positions. Take a look at the excitement they seem to have over their starting pitching this year. It's still one of the 5 worst rotations in the majors, for years running now.

#16 tobi0040

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 07:14 AM

Trevor Plouffe is 28 with a career triple slash of: .241/.304/.411 (.714) in 1685 appearances. There is no disputing the general and total averageness of these statistics. It's not going to get any better for him.


I think Trevor Plouffe is the most under-appreciated player on our team. The guy is not Mike Schmidt. I get it. But his OPS the last three years .756, .701, and .727 is average or above average for 3B. I think people on these boards have a distorted view of how thin this position is in the major leagues.

He will never hit #3 on a championship team, but he could start or certainly be a role, depth, or platoon player on one. Heck, the Red Sox last year had Willie Middlebrooks at 3B and his OPS was .696. The guy makes no money and is controllable. And his career OPS against lefties is .820. He has a HR every 25 at bats against lefties. That would put him 300th all time, in a category with Al Kaline, Bobby Bonilla, and Andrew Mccutchen. Helpful when he can play 3B, 1B, LF, RF, or DH, especially on a team with a guy that may not stick at 3B in Sano and a 1B that misses time to injury every year.

http://www.baseball-...un_career.shtml

Edited by tobi0040, 17 July 2014 - 07:31 AM.


#17 tobi0040

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 07:23 AM

I agree that teams that win championships often have guys like Plouffe starting somewhere. However, they are not the type of player you build around. As stated, he's adequate on a bad team, or as a bench player. However, I think the Twins too often try to build around guys like Plouffe and are far too willing to accept mediocrity at too many positions. Take a look at the excitement they seem to have over their starting pitching this year. It's still one of the 5 worst rotations in the majors, for years running now.


Sano may not stick at 3B and I have seen too many Mike Lamb's and Tony Bautista's of the world to toss Plouffe to the side. It is a tough position to find a bat even comparable to Plouffe's. Not to mention he should always be in the lineup against lefties.

#18 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 07:23 AM

I think Trevor Plouffe is the most under-appreciated player on our team. The guy is not Mike Schmidt. I get it. But his OPS the last three years .756, .701, and .727 is average or above average for 3B. I think people on these boards have a distorted view of how thin this position is in the major leagues.


This. Trevor Plouffe is the type of guy you're happy to have on the team until something better comes along. You don't actively pursue a replacement unless something really great is available. He's a league average player and should man third until Sano is ready to take his place.

At that point, trade him or turn him into a utility player depending on how Sano looks.

#19 kdrupp09

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 07:24 AM

I think Trevor Plouffe is the most under-appreciated player on our team. The guy is not Mike Schmidt. I get it. But his OPS the last three years .756, .701, and .727 is average or above average for 3B. I think people on these boards have a distorted view of how thin this position is in the major leagues.

He will never hit #3 on a championship team, but he could start or certainly be a role, depth, or platoon player on one. Heck, the Red Sox last year had Willie Middlebrooks at 3B and his OPS was .696. The guy makes no money and is controllable. And his career OPS against lefties is .820. Helpful when he can play 3B, 1B, LF, RF, or DH, especially on a team with a guy that may not stick at 3B in Sano and a 1B that misses time to injury every year.


This is a great observation and I agree completely. Having Plouffe around as a super utility guy who can get spot starts against tough lefties (I'm looking at you Chris Sale) for Mauer could be a great benefit to this team.

#20 gmarais66

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 07:55 AM

I think Trevor Plouffe is the most under-appreciated player on our team. The guy is not Mike Schmidt. I get it. But his OPS the last three years .756, .701, and .727 is average or above average for 3B. I think people on these boards have a distorted view of how thin this position is in the major leagues.

He will never hit #3 on a championship team, but he could start or certainly be a role, depth, or platoon player on one. Heck, the Red Sox last year had Willie Middlebrooks at 3B and his OPS was .696. The guy makes no money and is controllable. And his career OPS against lefties is .820. He has a HR every 25 at bats against lefties. That would put him 300th all time, in a category with Al Kaline, Bobby Bonilla, and Andrew Mccutchen. Helpful when he can play 3B, 1B, LF, RF, or DH, especially on a team with a guy that may not stick at 3B in Sano and a 1B that misses time to injury every year.

http://www.baseball-...un_career.shtml


In my humble opinion, I don't think Plouffe and Kaline should be mentioned in the same paragraph. Plouffe is about as average as average can be. He's a filler, a place holder. Other teams are not going to offer the Twins much, if anything for Plouffe and that speaks quite loudly as to his mediocrity. The major leagues may be thin on quality third basemen, but there's nothing thin about Miguel Sano...

#21 mike wants wins

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 07:55 AM

Ya, he's around league average. I see no issue with that, until something pushes him aside. And I don't think that happens at the beginning of next year.
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#22 whydidnt

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 07:57 AM

This. Trevor Plouffe is the type of guy you're happy to have on the team until something better comes along. You don't actively pursue a replacement unless something really great is available. He's a league average player and should man third until Sano is ready to take his place.

At that point, trade him or turn him into a utility player depending on how Sano looks.


And if all you have is a bunch of average players, the best you can ever hope for is to be an average team. Not railing on Plouffe, just believe in higher expectations. At this point, it's probably as good as its going to get with him. Winning teams have better than average players at most positions.

#23 stringer bell

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 08:00 AM

Trevor Plouffe is 28 with a career triple slash of: .241/.304/.411 (.714) in 1685 appearances. There is no disputing the general and total averageness of these statistics. It's not going to get any better for him.

Brian Dozier is less than a year younger and his career triple slash is: .241/.311/.400 (.714) in 1387 PAs and some, including myself, were saying he should go to the All-Star game. Granted, he plays second, not third, but I don't think we can unequivocally say that Plouffe has reached his peak. I think he will do well after the All-Star break and make a case for being a starter no matter what Sano does in the next 10-12 months. That is, moving and starting at another position if Sano forces himself into the majors (which I believe will happen).

#24 gmarais66

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 08:08 AM

Sano may not stick at 3B and I have seen too many Mike Lamb's and Tony Bautista's of the world to toss Plouffe to the side. It is a tough position to find a bat even comparable to Plouffe's. Not to mention he should always be in the lineup against lefties.


Reality check... Plouffe's rankings among Major League third basemen: OPS (14th), batting average (15th), RBI (11th)... He's middle of the pack in nearly every category... Average... It's not tough to find a bat comparable to his... In fact, Plouffe and Eduardo Escobar are nearly identical in every offensive category, with the exception of Escobar having a higher batting average and Plouffe having more RBI... You only need to look down the bench to find someone comparable...

#25 jokin

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 08:15 AM

Brian Dozier is less than a year younger and his career triple slash is: .241/.311/.400 (.714) in 1387 PAs and some, including myself, were saying he should go to the All-Star game. Granted, he plays second, not third, but I don't think we can unequivocally say that Plouffe has reached his peak. I think he will do well after the All-Star break and make a case for being a starter no matter what Sano does in the next 10-12 months. That is, moving and starting at another position if Sano forces himself into the majors (which I believe will happen).


I just erased much of my post, as you said it all and better, well done.

I'll just say, Plouffe is fine for now and his new mature approach at the plate is in complete contrast to year's past and possibly augurs well for the near future. There's a good chance he posts a career year before FA in 2018, giving the Twins an excellent sell-high opportunity.

The team is going to need some veteran presence during this upcoming phase, he's going to be cheaper than bringing in some rent-a-vet- he might make an excellent part-time partner with someone like Arcia- who has an OPS split differential of 200+ points in the minors and 155 points in the majors (an ugly .612 OPS vs. LHP career, .454 OPS vs LHP in 2014)

#26 tobi0040

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 08:18 AM

Reality check... Plouffe's rankings among Major League third basemen: OPS (14th), batting average (15th), RBI (11th)... He's middle of the pack in nearly every category... Average... It's not tough to find a bat comparable to his... In fact, Plouffe and Eduardo Escobar are nearly identical in every offensive category, with the exception of Escobar having a higher batting average and Plouffe having more RBI... You only need to look down the bench to find someone comparable...


I said he is average or above average for the position. 14th, 15th, and 11th seems exactly where i said he was.

Which player ahead of him is available on the free agent market and within the Twins price range that is very easy to replace? Prior to Plouffe, the fact is we have not had an average or above average 3B since Koskie.

Of the 13 people ahead of him in OPS, I see 3 veterans under contract and a whole bunch of players that are young and controlled for years.

Notice the drop off between Plouffe (.727 OPS) and 19th, Matt Dominguez .652 OPS. I don't want to get into the bottom third of this list again.

Escobars career OPS is .646. If you think his .720 this year is going to stick you may be setting yourself up for dissapointment.

Edited by tobi0040, 17 July 2014 - 08:20 AM.


#27 mike wants wins

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 08:18 AM

I think looking only at career slash lines ignores an obvious change in the last year for Dozier, and the numbers are a lot better at 2B than 3B.

I really want him to learn corner OF, and be a super utility guy when Sano is here. But, maybe that isn't as easy as it sounds.
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#28 spanman2

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 08:27 AM

Totally agree. It would seem to be the consensus that Sano is a go at 3rd. Probably 2016 in my opinion. This means 1 year to hold down the fort which Trevor is certainly capable of. The question going into not only 2016 but next year is the health of Sano. Can he grind out 150+games a year at 3rd base with his most recent injury? Let us hope so!!!!! Nobody will mistake Trevor for all star 3b material but he is certainly not the worst either. In addition if the Twins feel that Sano cant handle the work load at 3b as a regular but is hitting the cover off of the ball then you need a stop gap to fill in when Sano isnt at 3rd. Hopefully this is not the case but is a possibility. GO TWINS

I think you offer him arb and hold on to him for at least one more year. Sano is going to need some time in the minors next year anyways, so Plouffe holds down the spot for 2015. If this improvements are for real and continue, he'll have more value next offseason than presently. That also gives the Twins an insurance policy of Sano struggles next season.


#29 tobi0040

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 09:13 AM

[quote name='gmarais66']In my humble opinion, I don't think Plouffe and Kaline should be mentioned in the same paragraph. Plouffe is about as average as average can be. He's a filler, a place holder.QUOTE]

Plouffe is not Al Kaline. But that is the whole theory of platooning. It is how the Tampa Bay Rays pulled out an OPS of over .750 in their OF primarily through platooning journey-man, 4th OF types with great splits playing everywhere but Myers spot. Matt Joyce, Kelly Johnson, and Luke Scott. While Plouffe is not Kaline, the 20-30%of the time you have a lefty pitcher in there, you get a guy that will hit a HR at the same clip as one.

You have great production against lefties, an average 3B in total, a potential backup if Sano fails, a fill in when Mauer gets hurt, and depth in the OF in Plouffe. All at a .720 OPS. That is not why this team has lost 90+ games each year. It is the middle infield, OF, and pitching staff. Sounds like a decent $2-3M investment to me.

#30 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 09:21 AM

Reality check... Plouffe's rankings among Major League third basemen: OPS (14th), batting average (15th), RBI (11th)... He's middle of the pack in nearly every category... Average... It's not tough to find a bat comparable to his... In fact, Plouffe and Eduardo Escobar are nearly identical in every offensive category, with the exception of Escobar having a higher batting average and Plouffe having more RBI... You only need to look down the bench to find someone comparable...



He's a major league average 3B. These don't grow on trees. You won't be able to just look down the bench and find a replacement. I think you're confusing an average player with a replacement level player. As it is, Plouffe is preforming better than half of baseball's 3B right now. As such, he's fine as a placeholder until Sano is ready. When that happens, he's traded. If we are really lucky, he continues with his improvements this year and breaks out next year, increasing his value.