Minnesota Twins infielder Trevor Plouffe has had many highs and lows in his young career. He has spent parts of the last five years in triple A. He arrived at the MLB level as a shortstop, but was quickly exposed defensively. However, his bat provided enough promise that the Twins worked to find an alternative position for the 26-year-old.
In 2012, he finally stuck at the big league level, taking over third base duties from Danny Valencia. Plouffe discovered some serious power in 2013, hitting 19 home runs in the first half of the season in limited action. He was among league leaders in home runs during the All-Star Break.
But that was the high point for Plouffe, who only went deep five times in the second half. He saw his batting average plummet to .235 and despite hitting 25 bombs on the season, he only managed to knock in 55 runs.
In July 2012, Plouffe looked like he would be a lock at third base for years to come but after a pedestrian second half, Twins GM Terry Ryan made it explicit that his roster spot was not guaranteed. This caused some speculation that Ryan and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire believed Plouffe would benefit from some competition at his spot.
Thus far, it appears that he has embraced the competition at third base. He’s 10-27 in in eight exhibition games, which is good for a .417 batting average. While unexpected home runs are always nice, the Twins will probably bat him somewhere between sixth and eighth in their lineup, meaning they’d probably like to see his batting average and OBP improve from last year.
Plouffe will likely be the Twins’ opening day third baseman. If he can provide a decent average and few home runs at the bottom of the order, he will compliment a lineup that already has two former MVPs in Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau and a genuine slugger in Josh Willingham. There are plenty of holes in this roster, but if Plouffe can provide an offensive boost, the middle of the Twins order will be no joke.