February 7, 2008

Spring Outlook: Trevor Plouffe

With the trade of Jason Bartlett this off-season, the shortstop position opened up. The Twins later signed defensive guru Adam Everett to fill the void, but the deal was for just one season and the Twins will be looking for help at the position as early as next season.

One good option, a person within the organization that can hit, is Trevor Plouffe. Plouffe has been working hard this off-season to get ready for the 2008 season, and he feels that he’s getting closer.

“A group of local pro guys and I have been working out and having our baseball
practice at Pepperdine. Woody Cliffords, a former player for the Orioles, and
his company Sportswest Training have done a great job getting me and other guys
like Ryan Braun and Delmon Young in shape for this season. It's a great
atmosphere to be a part of. We get a lot of work done, but have fun doing it for
Plouffe doesn’t feel like the Bartlett trade really affects him this season, and would like to become the everyday guy at short for the Red Wings.
“I don't think it (the trade) affects me as much as people think for this year.
In either situation, I knew going into spring this year I would be trying to
earn a job at Rochester. As for next year, because of Everett's one year deal, I
hope to be competing for the starting job. He is an excellent shortstop, just as
Bartlett was, and I feel fortunate to be able to learn from both of them. My
hope is that we all go out and have great years this year, and next season we'll
see what happens.”
Trevor has been known mainly for his offense so far during his tenure with the organization, and he feels that it's one of his strengths while his defense still needs more work.
“I've had some outstanding coaching coming through the minor leagues and my game has improved greatly. I think that physically the tools have always been there,
it was mostly the mental part that needed some tweaking. Our hitting coordinator
Bill Springman really emphasizes a strong mental approach, and it's something
I've definitely bought into. There's no doubt that I still have a lot to work
on, whether it be staying through the ball on defense, or back on the ball at
the plate, but I'm pretty confident heading into this season.”
Plouffe can’t wait for spring training to roll around so he can get back on the field and get going for the new season.
“Just getting to hang with all the guys, you really don't realize how much you
miss the camaraderie until you're back. It's good to catch up with everyone and
talk about the off-season and what not.”
And going into spring, Plouffe is pretty confident about the season and his chances of progressing and taking that one big step.
“I'm pretty confident heading in. I've had a very productive off-season, and I
really feel that I know now what it takes to have success in such a long season.
Even though I'll still be younger than some of the guys who get drafted this
year, I feel like a seasoned vet. This will be my fourth spring, so I understand
how it works now.”
While Plouffe may feel comfortable starting the season at Rochester and getting ready for the big leagues, he feels he’s ready whenever they do come calling.
“I feel that I'll be ready whenever the Twins need me.”
[All of the quotes are from an interview between Twins Territory and Trevor Plouffe. No quotes are from other sources.]

On a side note, Plouffe seems like a very good kid. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here, but he is one of my favorite minor leaguers and a player I’ve followed closely the past two seasons. I really can’t wait for him to take over the shortstop position in the very near future.