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The Future of Trevor Plouffe

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#41 tobi0040

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 10:28 AM

Well if the option is to platoon him with Arcia after Sano arrives, then fine. We do know that this would require a change of manager, however.



The second part, like the first is fine with me.

#42 Badsmerf

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 10:33 AM

Brock, a lot of that has to do with defense. Plouffe already has 1.6 WAR on the year, and I'm expecting a big second half from him (if he stays healthy). Across the board he is a better player this year. He is hitting balls hard and playing solid defense. His patience at the plate is getting better too. When you look at advanced metrics for him something has to give. He is posting career high LD%, career low HR/FB and IF/FB (significantly less than previously in the worst kind of contact); all the while he has maintained a similar BaBIP and AVG. These will go up along with the number of HR's he hits. We might be having a very different discussion in 2 months.

Why is everyone so convinced Sano is going to push him off the position? I'm not. Sano is will probably be great, but he has contact issue and might get too big for the position. Have we all forgotten Sano's faults? He wouldn't be the first uber prospect to fail. If you're the Twins you don't put all your eggs in the Sano basket. He is going to play the whole season in AA/AAA next year unless he puts up a 1.000 OPS for a half the season. When that happens you worry about moving a solid player. There is only a dozen guys in MLB that are better at 3b. Plouffe is being sold very short on this thread. I hope my predictions come true and he has a big second half.
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#43 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 10:56 AM

Brock, a lot of that has to do with defense. Plouffe already has 1.6 WAR on the year, and I'm expecting a big second half from him (if he stays healthy). Across the board he is a better player this year. He is hitting balls hard and playing solid defense. His patience at the plate is getting better too. When you look at advanced metrics for him something has to give. He is posting career high LD%, career low HR/FB and IF/FB (significantly less than previously in the worst kind of contact); all the while he has maintained a similar BaBIP and AVG. These will go up along with the number of HR's he hits. We might be having a very different discussion in 2 months.


I'm not bashing Plouffe at all. He's an adequate starter and I'm all for sticking him at third until Sano is ready.

But a Koskie comp? That's a bad comparison. Koskie was a very good player. Plouffe is an adequate starter.

#44 tobi0040

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 11:04 AM

I'm not bashing Plouffe at all. He's an adequate starter and I'm all for sticking him at third until Sano is ready.

But a Koskie comp? That's a bad comparison. Koskie was a very good player. Plouffe is an adequate starter.


I am the one that brought up Koskie and I did not do it to compare the two. Koskie had some sick years here. My point was, Plouffe is far and away the best 3B we have had since Koskie and he has been gone for 8 years.

If Plouffe makes $3M in arbitration and fills about four backup roles, crushes lefties, plays average or slightly above average 3B, and we have a health question mark at 1B and a position question mark coming up at 3B....seems like a no brainer to me.

We can probably dump others to improve the club. Plouffe is not near the top of the list.

Edited by tobi0040, 17 July 2014 - 11:06 AM.


#45 spycake

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 11:16 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.


Plouffe has been basically average compared to MLB 3B OPS in 2014 and 2012, and was ~5% below average in 2013.

But average doesn't mean permanently acceptable -- the average includes a lot of bad players (injury replacements, backups, rookies, over-the-hill vets). I think it is better to look at ranks, with a lower PA threshold than batting title qualifiers to account for injuries, rookies, etc.

With 300 minimum PA (or 200 so far in 2014), Plouffe has ranked 23, 25, 21 among 3B at Fangraphs going back to 2012. He's pretty clearly in the bottom 25-30% of MLB third basemen offensively.

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.


Funny you mention Middlebrooks because he lost his starting job from June into August last year, lost it again during the playoffs, and finally lost it yet again right away this season.

And Plouffe doesn't make much, but it's not "no money" anymore -- $2.3 mil this year, probably $3-4 mil in arbitration the next couple years.

That said, I don't think he should be replaced now, or even spring 2015, but he's really just a patch to Sano at this point. And I doubt his bat/salary would play in the corner OF regardless of his glove.

#46 Shane Wahl

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 11:23 AM

For what it's worth, Dozier's career WAR is 7.3. Plouffe's is 2.9. Maybe bringing those two together in a conversation doesn't really work?

#47 spycake

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 11:32 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.


You thought Dozier should go to the All-Star game based on his career body of work, and not his career-best season so far in 2014?

Or are you suggesting that because Dozier improved dramatically at age 26, that bodes well for Plouffe improving at age 28?

#48 tobi0040

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 11:39 AM

Plouffe has been basically average compared to MLB 3B OPS in 2014 and 2012, and was ~5% below average in 2013.

But average doesn't mean permanently acceptable -- the average includes a lot of bad players (injury replacements, backups, rookies, over-the-hill vets). I think it is better to look at ranks, with a lower PA threshold than batting title qualifiers to account for injuries, rookies, etc.

With 300 minimum PA (or 200 so far in 2014), Plouffe has ranked 23, 25, 21 among 3B at Fangraphs going back to 2012. He's pretty clearly in the bottom 25-30% of MLB third basemen offensively.



Funny you mention Middlebrooks because he lost his starting job from June into August last year, lost it again during the playoffs, and finally lost it yet again right away this season.

And Plouffe doesn't make much, but it's not "no money" anymore -- $2.3 mil this year, probably $3-4 mil in arbitration the next couple years.

That said, I don't think he should be replaced now, or even spring 2015, but he's really just a patch to Sano at this point. And I doubt his bat/salary would play in the corner OF regardless of his glove.



I don't know the split between RHP and LHP. But if we assume 75% of the pitchers are righties, you have a guy that could at least be a bench/pinch hit option 75% of the time and a backup at four positions. The other 25% of the time you get a guy with an .820 OPS in your lineup.

That is acceptable to me if Sano moves him off 3B. If Sano can't stick my money says we won't find a better 3B for awhile.

#49 spycake

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 11:47 AM

I am the one that brought up Koskie and I did not do it to compare the two. Koskie had some sick years here. My point was, Plouffe is far and away the best 3B we have had since Koskie and he has been gone for 8 years.


Actually, Cuddyer in 2005 at 3B was pretty much equivalent to Plouffe's present-day production (his defense was worse, but probably comparable to Plouffe at the same age in 2012).

Factoring in defense, Joe Crede in 2009 was better than Plouffe.

So Plouffe is better than Tony Batista, Luis Rodriguez, Brian Buscher, Mike Lamb, Brendan Harris, non-2006 Punto, and non-2010 Valencia. I don't think anyone here would dispute that, but it says nothing about Plouffe's place on the Twins going forward.

#50 Dave T

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 11:54 AM

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.

Well, actually, Escobar is hitting as well as Plouffe and is a much better fielder at 3B. When Santana comes back where does he play? If he is your starting SS, that puts Escobar on the bench.
If Plouffe were traded, I don't think the Twins would notice his absence. The problem is, what could you get in return that would be worth having? Can Polanco play 3B?

#51 spycake

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 11:57 AM

I don't know the split between RHP and LHP. But if we assume 75% of the pitchers are righties, you have a guy that could at least be a bench/pinch hit option 75% of the time and a backup at four positions. The other 25% of the time you get a guy with an .820 OPS in your lineup.

That is acceptable to me if Sano moves him off 3B. If Sano can't stick my money says we won't find a better 3B for awhile.


Your 25% LHP is roughly accurate, in terms of total PA against.

But how valuable is a .676 OPS bench/pinch hit option vs RHP? 75% of the time, he will have negative value in this role.

Not to mention, who are you going to bench 25% of the time for Plouffe vs LHP? Mauer at 1B? Arcia in RF? Not particularly realistic/desirable... maybe if we're stuck with Parmelee in LF, but then our goal shouldn't be to find/keep a decent sub for Parmelee -- it should be to replace him with a better starter.

Still think we will be way better off trading Plouffe to a team that needs a 3B patch as soon as Sano is up.

#52 tobi0040

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 12:12 PM

Well, actually, Escobar is hitting as well as Plouffe and is a much better fielder at 3B. When Santana comes back where does he play? If he is your starting SS, that puts Escobar on the bench.
If Plouffe were traded, I don't think the Twins would notice his absence. The problem is, what could you get in return that would be worth having? Can Polanco play 3B?


To be fair, Escobar's career OPS is .646.

#53 tobi0040

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 12:17 PM

Actually, Cuddyer in 2005 at 3B was pretty much equivalent to Plouffe's present-day production (his defense was worse, but probably comparable to Plouffe at the same age in 2012).

Factoring in defense, Joe Crede in 2009 was better than Plouffe.

So Plouffe is better than Tony Batista, Luis Rodriguez, Brian Buscher, Mike Lamb, Brendan Harris, non-2006 Punto, and non-2010 Valencia. I don't think anyone here would dispute that, but it says nothing about Plouffe's place on the Twins going forward.


Well, we moved Cuddy off 3B because he could not play defense a lick there. And we only got our hands on Crede because he could never stay healthy. And in 2009 he only played 90 games, which was the last year he played in the big leagues at 31 years old. So those two don't really qualify as examples of potential replacements, position scarcity, IMO.

#54 tobi0040

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 12:18 PM

Your 25% LHP is roughly accurate, in terms of total PA against.

But how valuable is a .676 OPS bench/pinch hit option vs RHP? 75% of the time, he will have negative value in this role.

Not to mention, who are you going to bench 25% of the time for Plouffe vs LHP? Mauer at 1B? Arcia in RF? Not particularly realistic/desirable... maybe if we're stuck with Parmelee in LF, but then our goal shouldn't be to find/keep a decent sub for Parmelee -- it should be to replace him with a better starter.

Still think we will be way better off trading Plouffe to a team that needs a 3B patch as soon as Sano is up.


Arcia's OPS against lefties is .454 this year. So he is a potential candidate.

#55 spycake

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 12:37 PM

Well, we moved Cuddy off 3B because he could not play defense a lick there. And we only got our hands on Crede because he could never stay healthy. And in 2009 he only played 90 games, which was the last year he played in the big leagues at 31 years old. So those two don't really qualify as examples of potential replacements, position scarcity, IMO.


I was just pointing out it's wasn't quite an 8-year dry spell.

Actually, since Plouffe was handed the position in 2012, it was really only 7 seasons between him and Koskie. And between Cuddy, Crede, Punto, and Valencia, the Twins got cheap Plouffe-like production at the position at least 5 of those 7 seasons.

Twins combined 3B MLB OPS rank
2005: 21
2006: 26
2007: 30
2008: 21
2009: 22
2010: 24
2011: 21
2012: 15
2013: 23
2014: 20

Hate to say it, but Plouffe's 2012 HR binge still looks like the outlier here, not Plouffe overall.

#56 spycake

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 12:40 PM

Arcia's OPS against lefties is .454 this year. So he is a potential candidate.


If Arcia keeps hitting like he has in MLB 2013-2014, he will be another candidate for total replacement, not part-time augmentation.

#57 tobi0040

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 12:51 PM

If Arcia keeps hitting like he has in MLB 2013-2014, he will be another candidate for total replacement, not part-time augmentation.


Arcia's career OPS against righties is .773. Looks like at a floor of a platoon player, especially if you can get that .773 OPS 75% of the time.

In two years we should have Buxton, Sano, Mauer, and likely at least two from the Hicks, Rosario, camp playing every day. As well as an everyday catcher. So the roster should be flexible enough for a guy like that.

#58 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 01:15 PM

Well, actually, Escobar is hitting as well as Plouffe and is a much better fielder at 3B. When Santana comes back where does he play? If he is your starting SS, that puts Escobar on the bench.
If Plouffe were traded, I don't think the Twins would notice his absence. The problem is, what could you get in return that would be worth having? Can Polanco play 3B?


He's not actually. Plouffe has a slightly higher OPS. The other conern about Escobar is his ability to play every day. I like Escobar a lot better up the middle personally. A 3 man tandem of Santana, Dozier, and Escobar is going to do a good job scoring and defending runs. Move Escobar to 3B, and then you have a big hole up the middle and are in deeper trouble if Santana turns back into a pumpkin. I think the best solution here is to keep Plouffe another year.

The Twins can (and should) go year to year with him right now. He's not going to yield a good prospect at the deadline, he's got a decent chance of improving, and he's not dragging down the team. If he improves, he's going to be worth a lot more next season, and the Twins will also have seen Sano play an entire year against tougher pitching.

#59 spycake

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 01:21 PM

Arcia's career OPS against righties is .773. Looks like at a floor of a platoon player, especially if you can get that .773 OPS 75% of the time.

In two years we should have Buxton, Sano, Mauer, and likely at least two from the Hicks, Rosario, camp playing every day. As well as an everyday catcher. So the roster should be flexible enough for a guy like that.


Two years from now, Plouffe will be just over a season away from free agency (hits FA after 2017 season), and probably commanding $5+ mil in his final arb seasons.

Plouffe has some value as a 3B. He has less value as a more expensive short-side platoon corner OF. I didn't think that would be a controversial statement!

#60 gmarais66

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 01:46 PM

Brock, a lot of that has to do with defense. Plouffe already has 1.6 WAR on the year, and I'm expecting a big second half from him (if he stays healthy). Across the board he is a better player this year. He is hitting balls hard and playing solid defense. His patience at the plate is getting better too. When you look at advanced metrics for him something has to give. He is posting career high LD%, career low HR/FB and IF/FB (significantly less than previously in the worst kind of contact); all the while he has maintained a similar BaBIP and AVG. These will go up along with the number of HR's he hits. We might be having a very different discussion in 2 months.

Why is everyone so convinced Sano is going to push him off the position? I'm not. Sano is will probably be great, but he has contact issue and might get too big for the position. Have we all forgotten Sano's faults? He wouldn't be the first uber prospect to fail. If you're the Twins you don't put all your eggs in the Sano basket. He is going to play the whole season in AA/AAA next year unless he puts up a 1.000 OPS for a half the season. When that happens you worry about moving a solid player. There is only a dozen guys in MLB that are better at 3b. Plouffe is being sold very short on this thread. I hope my predictions come true and he has a big second half.


Since May 1, Plouffe is hitting .218/.272/.379. That doesn't instill much confidence that he's going to have a big second half of the season...