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Mason: Can Plouffe Bounce Back?

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:02 PM

It has some quotes by Terry Ryan, but also points out that Plouffe's defense, which was obviously a concern, might have been impacted by him preparing to play in the outfield all year.

"Last year, I was coming in as an outfielder, so this offseason I kind of got to focus on my defense a little more and I'll be more prepared to come into spring and work on some things," Plouffe said. "It's nice to know that's where I'm going to be."


That's a nice thought, but it was in the second half of the year that the defensive gaffes were most prominent. Of course, that was also after the thumb injury.

Can Plouffe get back in the swing?

#2 glunn

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:41 AM

If Plouffe can sustain some hot streaks and keep his thumb healthy, why couldn't he hit 30 homers this year?

#3 ThePuck

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:33 AM

bounce back? To what good point of his career do we want him to bounce back too?

#4 gunnarthor

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:50 AM

I tend to be an optimist but I really don't think Plouffe can handle third defensively. I wish he could handle second. I think that he and Parmelee will both have rough April's to the point that Parmelee gets sent down and he takes over RF and isn't horrible there. On the plus side, if I'm wrong and he and Parmelee can play well at the ML level, our offense will be a pleasant surprise.

#5 mike wants wins

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:23 AM

I believe Plouffe will be just below average defensively, and a bit more above average offensively....meaning he will be right around the median of everyday starters. Confident of that, actually.

#6 twinsnorth49

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:53 AM

bounce back? To what good point of his career do we want him to bounce back too?


It's a small sample granted and not likely to happen but I'd take his June 2012 as a bounce back point or even a reasonable facsimile of. I don't think his power is a fluke.

Fielding........ well you've got me there.

#7 Willihammer

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:08 AM

I would prefer a full blown imitation of June 2012 Plouffe, but I'd still celebrate a reasonable facsimile, or even a vague likeness.

#8 LoganJones

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:22 AM

Plouffe is gonna be fine over there. He won't be as good offensively as Miggie. He won't be as bad defensively, either. 30 Bombs is a real possibility for him. Now let's just hit a few more of those with runners on.

#9 TheLeviathan

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:35 PM

Can we get more than a two week binge from him before we start projecting home run totals? At this point, anything from 4-40 would have some minimal amount of merit. His streak was impressive and fun to watch, but that's all it was until he shows more than that considering how out of character it was in the context of his entire professional career.

#10 Nick Nelson

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:39 PM

Can we get more than a two week binge from him before we start projecting home run totals? At this point, anything from 4-40 would have some minimal amount of merit. His streak was impressive and fun to watch, but that's all it was until he shows more than that considering how out of character it was in the context of his entire professional career.


He's hit 23 and 24 homers the past two years. I'd say that's pretty much his floor presuming he stays healthy and his defense is sufficient to keep him on the field.

#11 TheLeviathan

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:48 PM

He's hit 23 and 24 homers the past two years. I'd say that's pretty much his floor presuming he stays healthy and his defense is sufficient to keep him on the field.


Mixing minor and major league stats to make a point seems disingenuous. Not to mention all those presumptions. Plus, you forgot to mention that of the 24 homeruns he hit last year almost half of them came in a span of 56 at bats. Again, I just don't know how anyone feels you can project that stat given the binge it largely rested on.

#12 tellis205

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 05:05 PM

Last year the Twins told Plouffe to come to camp with an OF's glove. He did and that is where he was expecting to play primarily. He played there in addition to 2nd base before they suddenly need a 3rd baseman. Plouffe has played there a few games in the past. In the minor leagues I remember they had him there a little bit. They were always hoping he'd be their SS. But of course we all know what happened there. The good news here is that Plouffe is an excellent athlete. Excellent athlete's adapt. I'm sure he has spent the majority of his off season preparing to play 3rd base just like I'm sure he took alot of fly balls last year thinking he was gonna play RF. My personal opinion is his problem is not physical but mental (lack of focus). But I could be wrong (I'm often wrong). As far as his hitting goes, he's only had 749 MLB at bats. Most players need in excess of 1200 ab's before the light turns on. Of course there's plenty of exceptions to this rule.
Let's wait and see on Plouffe. The jury is still out.

#13 Kwak

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 05:16 PM

Plouffe's defense at 3B isn't all that significant, his hitting--especially HRs is significant! Plouffe shouldn't be--and likely isn't considered by the Twins--as the future 3B fixture. Stay healthy, hit HRs, and trade him off for as much as possible. Just like the other thread states "a clear path" for the prospects. Plouffe's limitations are established and he is simply a placeholder in the lineup.

#14 Nick Nelson

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 05:54 PM

Plus, you forgot to mention that of the 24 homeruns he hit last year almost half of them came in a span of 56 at bats. Again, I just don't know how anyone feels you can project that stat given the binge it largely rested on.

So what? The homers that came in quick succession don't count the same as others? I don't understand why some people focus so much on the distribution; he hit 24 baseballs out of the park in the major leagues at the age of 25 and that's a sign of something. If anything, the timing is a point in his favor because his slump directly correlated with a hand injury.

For Plouffe to hit 30 home runs in a season wouldn't call for him to blast them at the rate he did while he was on that tear. It would merely call for him to keep hitting them at the overall rate of his MLB career thus far. The guy has power. It's not in doubt.

#15 TheLeviathan

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 06:13 PM

So what? The homers that came in quick succession don't count the same as others? I don't understand why some people focus so much on the distribution; he hit 24 baseballs out of the park in the major leagues at the age of 25 and that's a sign of something. If anything, the timing is a point in his favor because his slump directly correlated with a hand injury.

For Plouffe to hit 30 home runs in a season wouldn't call for him to blast them at the rate he did while he was on that tear. It would merely call for him to keep hitting them at the overall rate of his MLB career thus far. The guy has power. It's not in doubt.


How about because the vast majority of what you're predicating your prediction on is a small sample size. Most of his minor league career his homerun totals sat around 15. In fact, prior to 2011 the last time he hit 20 homeruns was 2005. So let's not pretend this guy has some kind of regular appearance at this supposed "floor" you've pinned him to. Players dependent upon streaks to boost their final numbers are much more prone to have swings in their production. See: J.J. Hardy's OPS+ He's got a number of things working in his favor, but we haven't seen nearly enough of him over the course of a full season to be nearly as ambitious as you seem to be.

In any case, you seem to be misrepresenting my argument. I'm not saying he can't. I'm saying any projection from 4-40 probably has merit because he's a wildcard. I'm simply critical of anyone who wants to write it in stone that his "floor" is 20-25 homeruns. He could well play every day and still hit 15.

#16 ashburyjohn

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 06:30 PM

he hit 24 baseballs out of the park in the major leagues at the age of 25 and that's a sign of something.


It's certainly a sign that if he gets the pitch he wants, he can turn on it.

Baseball's not unique among sports as a constant game of adjustments. The "book" on a batter changes over time, the batter adjusts to take advantage, the book changes again... OK, I'm not lecturing you or anyone, just stating why I look at that brief shining period he had as a little bit suspect, although also hopeful. If it's true that a larger than average proportion of his homers were bases-empty, then one explanation is that pitchers were challenging him in the situations when it wouldn't hurt them too much, given his pitiful batting average when that streak started. As his record started to show this was a bad idea, maybe pitchers changed, happening to coincide with his thumb injury. It remains to be seen whether Trevor will succeed in making the necessary adjustments. So... more so than other players, he's very much an unfinished project, IMO. We can hope that with good coaching he will find the right balance and get the homers when they are there for the taking and settle for other positive results at other times. But plenty of players have hit a wall during such a period of their development.

#17 Thrylos

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 06:30 PM

At some point last (off)season when the Twins were ready to send Plouffe to the OF, I compared him to Cuddyer. I think that I did him a dis-service because he is a much better player than Cuddyer was and his ceiling is higher than Cuddyer's.

About that "thumb" injury: It was probably worse than it seemed. Plouffe at some point on Twitter admitted that he was undergoing TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) treatments. These are the type of treatments people with neurological issues (like dropped foot) receive. So he did have some nerve issues and probably lost feeling there at least. I suspect that there were some issues in grabbing a bat tight or even a ball tight to throw it.
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#18 Nick Nelson

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 06:34 PM

You do understand that prospects develop, right? Plouffe is not the same player he was in 2009, which was the last year he hit fewer than 17 home runs. You won't give credence to his minor league production because it's the minors, and you won't give credence to his major-league production because it's a "small sample size." He's been a legit power hitter for three years now, streaky or not. Most of the numbers you're using are just blatantly wrong (20 home runs in 2005? What?).

It's like you're blindly ignoring the evidence right in front of you in order to make yet another pessimistic point. Sure, he could hit 15 home runs. It would be a surprise and a disappointment.

#19 TheLeviathan

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 07:49 PM

It's like you're blindly ignoring the evidence right in front of you in order to make yet another pessimistic point.


Um, I'm not being pessimistic. But this sure explains why you're acting like a scorned 13 year old girl about this. Yeesh.

You do understand that prospects develop, right?


You also understand they fizzle, flash and then fall-off, never make it, fail to adjust, etc? He might well have developed and could be a key contributor. I don't know enough yet about him to know if that binge he went on is something we can project or was a flash in the pan. Hence why I said 4-40 - you could make a case for just about anywhere in there as far as I can tell.

But for you to call his "floor" (meaning, the lowest thing we should expect) at 24 is a bit ridiculous. I would think his reasonable floor is more like 12-15 with a high ceiling for more. The "sure, he could hit 15 homeruns" tells me you either don't understand what "floor" means or you were overstating what you meant originally.

To me, Plouffe is a wildcard I'm interested in watching this year. But I don't have a damn clue what to expect from him, that's part of why it's interesting.

#20 jorgenswest

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:00 PM

Plouffe has never gone into a spring training as a third baseman. He has one position to focus on. He has the arm to be successful. I don't see why he can't grow towards an average defender at 3B as he gains experience at the position. Third base is a position that relies on reaction more than any other. Reaction time is partially built on repeated experience.

#21 Linus

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:45 PM

First real year in the big leagues at a new position, where he hits 24 home runs and we are picking apart the fact that he hit them in a bunch and not so much after an injury? I think the TwinsDaily negativism / pessimism has surfaced again in spades. If the guy is average defensively next year (a reasonable expectation) and posts reasonable offensive numbers based on last year's results (say 18 homers and 75 RBIs), every Twins fan should be thrilled as that would represent the best 3rd base play we've seen since Koskie - with the potential for much improvement.

#22 TheLeviathan

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:49 PM

If the guy is average defensively next year (a reasonable expectation) and posts reasonable offensive numbers based on last year's results (say 18 homers and 75 RBIs), every Twins fan should be thrilled as that would represent the best 3rd base play we've seen since Koskie - with the potential for much improvement.


These are all absolutely reasonable. And I'm interested to see if he can do that. The problem? According to Nick's "floor" - you're a pessimist.

#23 glunn

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 12:46 AM

Last year the Twins told Plouffe to come to camp with an OF's glove. He did and that is where he was expecting to play primarily. He played there in addition to 2nd base before they suddenly need a 3rd baseman. Plouffe has played there a few games in the past. In the minor leagues I remember they had him there a little bit. They were always hoping he'd be their SS. But of course we all know what happened there. The good news here is that Plouffe is an excellent athlete. Excellent athlete's adapt. I'm sure he has spent the majority of his off season preparing to play 3rd base just like I'm sure he took alot of fly balls last year thinking he was gonna play RF. My personal opinion is his problem is not physical but mental (lack of focus). But I could be wrong (I'm often wrong). As far as his hitting goes, he's only had 749 MLB at bats. Most players need in excess of 1200 ab's before the light turns on. Of course there's plenty of exceptions to this rule.
Let's wait and see on Plouffe. The jury is still out.


I am a big Plouffe fan, but I do think that he needs more focus. I remember a game in Anaheim two years go where Plouffe was playing second base. There was a guy on first and one out. A sharp grounder to the shortstop should have resulted in a double play. But Plouffe touched second and headed toward the dugout. Plouffe thought that there were already 2 outs. The Angels fans mocked him.

I think that Plouffe could hit 40+ home runs and win a gold glove at third base if he could increase his focus.

#24 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:51 AM

I'm pretty excited about the guy. He might be another one of those guys who never turned up on prospect lists but somehow ended up being an above average regular. I'm hoping he can settle in a bit and raise the average while keeping the power... Sano is still a bit too far down, so to be competitive in 2014/15, Plouffe has got to fill a spot.

#25 Badsmerf

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:11 PM

Sano isn't a lock to be playing 3b by the time his bat is ready, so I'm hopeful Plouffe can stick around for a little while. Its all about adjustments for him.
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