Has Trevor Plouffe finally found a position to call his home on the Minnesota Twins?
Called up primarily as a shortstop in 2010, the 26-year old has been a utility man in every sense of the word, having played everywhere on the field besides center field and behind the plate in his 222 games at the MLB level.
This year, though, he has his eyes on just one spot – the hot corner, where he made the majority of his starts in 2012.
The Twins seem keep on the idea as well, as there isn’t currently anybody in camp who stands to really push Plouffe for the job. Given that his defense isn’t exactly anything to write home about, there’s really one reason for why that is: home run power.
No, Plouffe is not going to be the first name that anyone thinks of when they think of power-hitting infielders, but the Twins utility man showed plenty of it last season, to the tune of 24 homers.
To put it in perspective, that would have made him tied seventh-best home run hitting third baseman in all of baseball – if he’d only played enough to qualify.
As Judd Zulgad of 1500 ESPN reported back in February just as camp was set to open, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said it was because of Plouffe’s power display “that earns him the right to get a chance” at the third base job, while stressing that “it’s up to him how he plays and how long he plays.”
Though he was slowed by a calf injury and did not make his debut until a few games in for Minnesota, Plouffe has been red-hot at the part of the game that matters most for him – the plate. His eight hits in 20 at-bats is good enough to tie him with Josh Willingham for second on the team thus far, and his two walks are already as many as he drew last spring.
The third base hopeful continued that run in Tuesday, hitting a two-run double against the Tampa Bay Rays‘ emerging ace Matt Moore. Plouffe hasn’t hit a home run yet, but has yielded crooked number in his offense in all but one spring training game thus far.
Make no mistake – Plouffe is looking to stick at one spot in 2013, and every hit he notches in spring is a post with which to stake his claim.
No, the power hasn’t arrived in spring yet, but given that he’s shown decent pop throughout the minors, the 24 homers in 2012 might not be a one-time lightning strike, and might even be repeated.
If Plouffe can parlay the two-plus month long tear (1.126 OPS in June, .819 in July) in 2012 to this spring, and through to the coming season? Well, we might not just be talking about his home run power by the end of the season.