Plouffe is on Fire!

6 Jul

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

When the Twins went out of their way to denigrate Trevor Plouffe at the end of May and demoted him to Rochester, Plouffe could have sulked. He could have folded. Coupled with the media and the Twins manager’s efforts to call him out, Plouffe had an injured finger and missed about a week or game action before playing for the Red Wings. And since then, there has not be a better player anywhere in the Twins system, if not in all of minor league baseball. And frankly, I do not fully understand how he, and specifically his bat, is still in Rochester and not with the Twins.

In early May, Alexi Casilla was really struggling at shortstop. Defensively, he was adequate, but he wasn’t hitting close to .200 and time for change was imminent. Plouffe was hitting well for the Red Wings after a slow start. Plouffe was finally promoted to the big leagues. In his first plate appearance, he hit a home run over the Green Monster at Fenway Park against knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. Plouffe would play in 18 games and hit .200 (12-60). However, of those 12 hits, two were doubles and three were home runs. Defensively, he looked more comfortable, until that one bad game. The first bad throw came on a play that Plouffe went deep into the shortstop hole, dove and made a great play, got up and threw too tall for the first baseman. It was a great play unfortunately capped by a bad throw. Soon after, there was a slow roller, and instead of setting and throwing, Plouffe threw on the run. He didn’t get a good grip on the ball and the ball fluttered to 1B too late. I thought that he needed to throw on the run, he just didn’t get anything on it. Some thought he was showboating, which I guarantee was not the case. Soon after, a hard hit, one hopper bounded a way from him. Just one error, but the manager felt the need to call Plouffe out loudly. And then again. And again.

No wonder Plouffe was struggling. Few could play under those circumstances. Plouffe was benched for three games, played another and then back on the bench. There were words between the manager and the media about Plouffe. Plouffe was upset that Gardenhire made it so public. It wasn’t pretty and soon Plouffe was headed back to Rochester. Sure, Luis Rivas and Alexi Casilla got 4-5 years worth of opportunities. Plouffe got 12 starts. Does anyone think that the manager will ever play Plouffe on a regular basis at SS? Of course not.

Again, Plouffe could have sulked and been frustrated when he went back to Triple-A. He missed some games with the finger injury. However, since he started playing, he has been incredible. In 18 June games, he hit .310/.388/.648 with five doubles, two triples and five home runs. In six games so far in July, he has hit .400/520/.1.000 with four home runs. Plouffe has hit 15 home runs in Rochester now to go with the three he hit with the Twins. In 2010, Plouffe had 15 home runs with the Red Wings and two homers for the Twins, all season. He already has a combined 18 homers this year and it is through July 5!

Since Plouffe’s return, he has played all over the field. Yes, he has played some at shortstop. He has played 2B. He has played right field and left field. We know he can play 3B, and in Game 2 on Tuesday night, he played 1B. Clearly the Twins now plan for him to be a super utility player, which is not a bad thing.

Regardless, there is no question that Trevor Plouffe’s bat needs to be on the Twins roster and most days in the Twins lineup. So, how do we get him there? Well, do the Twins really need a third catcher? That is kind of redundant and ridiculous. Matt Tolbert can play four infield positions, but can’t hit. He could go down. Luke Hughes hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire at 1B, so Plouffe could take his spot. For me, that is the order in which I would send guys down to get Plouffe up here. Maybe they’re waiting for him to get a little more comfortable at a few more positions.

Trevor Plouffe could then play all four infield positions. He can also play both corner outfield positions. Worried about his outfield defense? As Josh Johnson tweeted on Tuesday night, Delmon Young has played a lot of LF, how much worse can Plouffe be out there? Who knows? Plouffe could probably even pitch if necessary! Remember when the Twins used their first pick in the 2004 draft to take Plouffe as a shortstop. Many teams considered drafting him as a pitcher.

Hey, even if none of us expects Plouffe to maintain an OPS north of 1.000 in the big leagues, he has earned another opportunity for a big league job!

Any thoughts?

Rochester Red Wings

As you may have noticed, Trevor Plouffe was the star of this double header. In the two games, he went 3-4 with four walks and three home runs. So what happened besides Plouffe?

In the first game, the Red Wings beat the Paw Sox 13-3. Former Twins pitcher Matt Fox started for the Paw Sox. He gave up 11 runs on ten hits and two walks in just 2.2 innings. Kevin Slowey started for the Red Wings. He gave up two runs on four hits and four hit batters in 2.2 innings. Chuck James gave up one run on two hits and two walks in 2.1 innings. Dusty Hughes recorded two strikeouts in 1.1 scoreless innings. Kyle Waldrop struck out two in one perfect inning. The Red Wings hit six home runs in the game. Plouffe hit two. Dustin Martin went 2-4 with his eighth homer. Brandon Roberts went 2-4 with his first homer. Delmon Young was 2-4 and hit the first pitch that he saw on the day out for a home run. Danny Lehmann hit his second homer and drove in three. Toby Gardenhire went 1-2 with two walks and his tenth double.

In the second game, the Red Wings lost 4-2. Brandon Roberts and Trevor Plouffe each homers. Jeff Bailey had two hits. Delmon Young went 0-3. Cole DeVries made his first start of the year. He gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks in 2.2 innings. Thomas Diamond threw 2.2 scoreless innings, despite allowing four hits and three walks. Jim Hoey went 1.2 scoreless innings.

New Britain Rock Cats

The Rock Cats lost 7-2 to New Hampshire. Brett Jacobson gave up seven runs on ten hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out six. Deolis Guerra struck out two in two scoreless innings. Tyler Robertson gave up one hit in a scoreless inning. Joe Benson returned to the Rock Cats lineup. He went 1-2 with a double. He hit a sacrifice fly and was hit by a pitch. He even threw out a runner at home. Chris Parmelee went 1-2 with two walks and his seventh home run.

Ft. Myers Miracle

Ft. Myers lost 9-2 to St. Lucie. The Miracle managed just four hits. Steve Liddle hit his tenth double. Oswaldo Arcia went 1-2  and is hitting .313 (he went 4-5 the day before). Kane Holbrooks started and gave up two runs on nine hits in five innings. Ricky Bowen gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in his inning. Matt Tone gave up five runs on five hits and a walk in just 0.2 innings. Bruce Pugh got the final four outs, two via the strikeout.

Beloit Snappers

Beloit lost to Wisconsin 8-3. Manuel Soliman gave up six runs (5 earned) on seven hits and a walk. He struck out three in his 4.1 innings. Blayne Weller then gave up two runs on four hits and two walks in two innings. Andrei Lobanov was perfect for 1.2 innings. Ben Tootle struck out two in a scoreless inning. Tyler Grimes went 2-3 with his first pro home run. Adam Bryant went 2-4 with his fourth double. Michael Gonzales hit his 14th double.  

Elizabethton Twins

A sacrifice fly by Jairo Rodriguez and a Niko Goodrum RBI single gave the E-Twins a 6-4 lead in the top of the 9th, a lead they would hold for the win. Tim Shibuya started and gave up four runs on six hits and two walks in four innings. Derek Christensen threw two scoreless innings. Pedro Guerra threw a shutout frame. Madison Boer struckout two in a scoreless eighth inning for the win. Matt Summers struck out two in a scoreless inning for the save. (Summers now has two innings pitched with the E-Twins and five strikeouts. Goodrum went 2-4. Nick Lockwood hit a triple. Miguel Sano hit his third home run.

GCL Twins

The GCL Twins beat the GCL Rays 8-3. Hein Robb threw three hitless innings to start. Matthew Tomshaw gave up two runs (1 earned) on one hit in two innings. He struck out two. Mark Trau came in and gave up one run on one hit and three walks without recording an out. Marcus Limon came in and struckout three in three scoreless innings. Markus Solbach threw a scoreless inning. Phillip Chapman was 2-4 with two doubles. Michael Quesada was 2-3 with two three-run home runs. Josh Hendricks went 3-5 with a double. Hendricks began the season by going 0-16. Since then, he is 10-15 and is now hitting .323.  

Any other thoughts or questions on the Twins minor leaguers? Feel free to comment here.

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17 Responses to “Plouffe is on Fire!”

  1. mini_tb July 6, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    Well said, Seth. Even if Plouffe does turn out to be a marginal big leaguer, I don’t see the benefit in treating him that way.

    The funny thing is, if Plouffe turns out to be even a minor success story, I’m sure it will be spun into Gardy being a hero by giving him the tough love he needed or some such drivel.

  2. mike wants wins July 6, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    Not a fan of how Gardy and the Twins have treated Plouffe at all. If a player shared a private conversation with the media, he’d be ripped to no end. But, then, I struggle to think of many players that weren’t super stars when they came up that have gotten better for a sustained time under this manager. Span is about it. The team doesn’t do the little things well anymore. They don’t run the bases well. Gardy deserves a ton of credit for their success, but he’s far from perfect.

    And, there is no reason for Tolbert to be in the majors. None. Plouffe should be up here. Kind of like keeping horrible experienced relievers up here for no reason.

  3. thebaseballcentury July 6, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    This is just another example of how Gardenhire mismanages young players. Unless you are an overachiever type like Tolber, you have litle chance of escaping his view on rookies.

  4. mini_tb July 6, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    Quick change of pace. Arcia and Hicks are exciting prospects!!

  5. gobbledy July 6, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    nishi, casilla, tolbert and hughes why would we need an upgrade there? maybe they can trade him for a relief pitcher?
    with all the errors that gardy made when he played and the fact he was a bad hitter i wonder how he was treated by his managers?

  6. dave July 6, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Wow, things must be in a frightful state when even Seth calls Gardy on the carpet.

    • Seth July 6, 2011 at 10:53 am #

      I’m a Gardy guy, but the Plouffe thing was perplexing.

  7. Sean July 6, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    You guys do remember Plouffe was already on the Twins roster this year and was atrocious? You do remember that right? He also ran his mouth to the manager and complained about the media. When rookies do that it doesn’t go well for them. But no, Gardy didn’t give him a chance wah. I see pretty numbres in AAA ball and now Plouffe is the Second Coming. But wait, he had 4 years of medicore AAA ball numbers? Blasphemy!
    He has no range at short and can’t throw the ball to 1st. He can’t play any of the 4 infield spots. I have no idea of his ability in the outfield I’d probably rank it next to Joe Mauer’s at 1st base. All that said he probably makes more sense than Luke Hughes or Matt Tolbert right now. That doesn’t mean he deserves the chance.

    • DH in Philly July 6, 2011 at 11:34 am #

      If what you say is true, it conflicts with all the Gardy bashers. What would they whne about then? Oh, thats right – just about anything

      • mike wants wins July 6, 2011 at 11:58 am #

        Unfair. Gardy shared a private conversation beteen him and a player with the press. That is innappropriate, isn’t it? We really don’t know how the conversation went. Maybe Plouffe came to his leader, and asked for help with how to deal with the negative press. That’s how it read to me. That is actually Gardy’s job, to help a rookie in that situation, isn’t it?

        Yes, Plouffe was not good while he was up here, but he has about 100x more talent than Tolbert, and should be up here if for nothing more than to PH occassionally. He also has more talent than Hughes. As for his lousy AAA stats, agreed, but he has been in AAA since he was VERY YOUNG. I’m assuming that some players do get better as they get to their mid-20′s. Is he definitely a MLB player? No. Is he more likely a MLB player than Tolbert or Hughes? Probably. If Mauer is healthy, should they have two catchers that cannot hit at all up here in addition to him, or Plouffe? I’d think Plouffe.

  8. Sean July 6, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    Yeah, I said sure bring up Plouffe he is better than Hughes or Tolbert but let’s not act like he deserves a chance. He hasn’t earned anything. I’d like to be paid a million dollar signing bonus then suck for 6 years at hitting and especially fielding then get promoted only to suck some more and then finally play 2 months of good ball in AAA and have people say I deserve a promotion and that Gardy is somehow to blame for this not occuring. I’ll trust Gardy over Plouffe any day of the week. The blog acts like Plouffe is some awesome player who is getting screwed over by the organziation and Gardy. That’s not the case at all. There are plenty of Rookies on this team and there hasn’t been the issue that there was with Plouffe. Tolbert, Hughes, Tosconi, Rivera etc… Give me a break.

  9. JS July 6, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    #freetrevorplouffe

    There’s no reason for him to be in AAA the way he’s hitting given the current roster. I’ll never understand the obsession with having an extra catcher if one is DH’ing. Worst case scenario is you lose the DH early in one game, and how many times this year has a Twins catcher had to leave the game due to injury? I’d argue that would work out to losing less than 0.1 wins over the season, given the unlikelihood and minimal impact in the worst case. Pretty confident you can get more value from a reasonable bench bat.

  10. mini_tb July 6, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Alex Burnett bashing in 3, 2, 1…

  11. Sean July 6, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    Anthony Slama is a guy that deserves a chance. If you want Alex Burnett bashing he should be sent down and Phil Dumatrait released. Not sure why Alex Burnett gets extended looks without results or that great of stats in the minors when Anthony Slama has pitched well at every level and didn’t do so bad in the Majors in a brief stint this year. Chuck James I don’t think is very good but he would be 10x better than Phil or Alex at this point. But we have to free Trevor Plouffe first the next A-Rod.

  12. peterb18 July 6, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    I’ll take Plouffe over Gardy in this situation. Gardy has favorites–Maybe Ploffe is just in the doghouse. Gardy’s son is with Rochester, and who knows what type of reports he gets? It smells fishy. Like the issues Kelly had with Todd Walker. Slama should be up also–it appears that he has an ability to get people out. Burnett just happens to a favorite. Tom Kelly sure likes him–from listening to todays game.
    What happened to the old axiom, “The best players play!”

  13. Robb July 7, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    I think the Twins/Gardy are more concerned with Plouffe’s defense than his bat while in AAA. I can’t see them bringing him up and putting him at first, third or in the outfield with only 6 games in the outfield and 1 game at first and not the greatest defense at 3B. I could be wrong as they put Hughes at first without him having much experience there and tonight we will probably see Mauer make his first appearance there. Also, they would probably rather have Plouffe playing everyday in the minors than be a bat off the bench for the Twins. If they were comfortable with him in the outfield and could get him playing close to everyday they might’ve already made that move. Hasn’t it been said that Plouffe’s bat would get him to the Show but his defense (playing good defense) would keep him there? His defense is the primary reason he was sent down and why Gardy isn’t in love with him. Hughes and Tolbert are “Gardy’s Guys” so they probably aren’t going anywhere.

    Don’t most teams have a short leash when it comes to prospects. How many of them are just given the chance to play and they just let them play and just deal with the rookie mistakes?

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