Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Roger's Minor League Players of the Week
Twins Minor League Reports
Q&A with Trevor Plouffe
Ft. Myers Miracle Infielder
2004 Twins 1st Round Draft Pick
Good morning to everyone! I had to include a little picture of my new biggest/littlest fan! (I was going to type "SethSpeaks.net, the perfect cure for the insomniac", but I didn't think that was necessary, and maybe not the best marketing slogan for my site.)
Well, it was a long, Memorial Day weekend! You have to enjoy a three-day weekend! It was enjoyable, but it is now back to the work week. Don't you just hate that?! Anyway, instead of going back and doing reports for all of the minor league games from four games, I will basically just be starting over today. I will do my reviews from last night's games, but not from the entire weekend. However, I will just give a couple of quick highlights from the weekend as well. I will also share just a couple of quick Twins thoughts. Also, be sure to stop by tomorrow when I will continue with my Top 50 Twins Prospects countdown.
The primary focus of today's blog entry is another Q&A with a Twins minor league player. If you would like to see what other Twins prospects and more I have had Q&As with, please be sure to look at the end of this Q&A. Today, I need to thank Trevor Plouffe for taking the time to answer some questions for us! I am really excited about this, first because it is another 1st round pick, but also because you will see that Trevor obviously took some time and put some thought into his responses. I really do appreciate that!
Trevor Plouffe was drafted by the Twins in the first round of the 2004 draft. He was the first of the Twins three first round picks, ahead of Glen Perkins and Kyle Waldrop. At draft time, scouts seemed to be mixed about whether he was a hitter or a pitcher. Some teams definitely had him ranked highly as a pitcher, but the Twins decided to take him as a shortstop. After signing, he quickly went to Elizabethton and did quite well. Last year, as the youngest player in the Midwest League, he hit .223/.300/.345 with 18 doubles, 13 homers and 60 RBI. Now, those may not look like huge numbers, but a few things stand out. First, he got off to a really poor start and actually improved each month throughout the season. Second, if you compare his numbers to those of Brandon Wood a year earlier, when he was the 19 year old shortstop in the Midwest League, they are very close. Wood led in some categories, but Plouffe led in others. Now, Wood got to go hit in the hitter-friendly California League and he dominated. Plouffe has to play in the Florida State League, a very pitcher-friendly league.
This season, he is again one of the youngest players in his league. Going into today, he is hitting just .204, a number I am sure he would like to see move up. However, his .335 on-base percentage ranks 2nd on the team. Those of us who like to think that not getting out is a good thing have to take note of that. On defense, he has 13 errors this year but continues to be thought of as a very good defender. This spring, Baseball America ranked him as the Twins top defensive infielder. He is primarily playing shortstop, but he is also seeing some time at 3B.
I'm sure you don't want to read any more background. Check out his minor league numbers and other information here. Let's just get to the Q&A! Thank you to Trevor Plouffe for taking the time to answer these questions. I hope that you will enjoy it too. If you have any comments for me or Mr. Plouffe, please e-mail me, and I will try to answer your questions or forward them on to him and see if we can get you an answer.
Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: Growing up in California, who was your favorite team, and who were some of your favorite players to watch?
Trevor Plouffe: I was always a Dodger fan, which means I was also a fan of anyone playing against the Giants. That rivalry is pretty big out there. As far as players, Ozzie Smith was and still is number one for me. He was just exciting to watch. Watching Fred McGriff come to L.A. late in his career was cool too. Everyone loves the Crimedog.
SethSpeaks: Tell us a little about your high school career.
Trevor Plouffe: Iím very fortunate to have played under Scott Muckey at Crespi Carmelite. He taught me a lot about the game and just how to go about my business. He emphasized a team effort and I think that was instrumental in our teamís success. We won a CIF title in Ď03 and reached the finals again in Ď04.
SethSpeaks: The Twins took you in the 1st round in 2004. Had you talked to the Twins' scouts much, and where were you expecting to be drafted?
Trevor Plouffe: Bill Mele was the scout who signed me, and we talked frequently. I still had no idea just how interested the Twins were. Honestly, I wasnít expecting anything. The draft was something that I knew was out of my hands. Iím very grateful to have been picked up by the Twins. I really feel that I fit in here.
SethSpeaks: Many say that you could have been drafted as a hitter or a pitcher. Are you happy to be an every day player, or do you even think about pitching?
Trevor Plouffe: I definitely love playing every day. Pitching was fun while it lasted, but I think I can bring more to the table as a position player.
SethSpeaks: Had you not signed with the Twins, where would you be today? How difficult was your decision to sign rather than go to college?
Trevor Plouffe: I signed to attend college at USC. So if I hadnít signed I would be playing there. Going back to the last question, I still would have been pitching there. Mike Gillespie and I talked about me playing shortstop and then coming in to close games. The decision to sign was very easy. You canít pass up a chance to play pro ball with an organization like the Twins.
SethSpeaks: Who were some of the coaches or people that have helped you get to this point in your career?
Trevor Plouffe: My dad taught me everything . He was a great coach, anyone who ever played for him will tell you that. He made the game fun and never pushed me to do anything that I didnít want to do. So as far as baseball influences, it would be him and Scott Muckey.
SethSpeaks: How would you describe yourself as a player. What are your strengths, and what areas would you say you most have to improve upon?
Trevor Plouffe: I like to think of myself as a team player. I play hard and try to do everything I can to put our team in a position to succeed. Baseball is a game where you need to improve daily. Specifically right now Iím working on staying back on the ball at the plate and down on the ball on defense.
SethSpeaks: What was the adjustment to pro baseball like for you?
Trevor Plouffe: It was actually pretty easy. Being away from home is the worst part. At first I was a little out of my comfort zone, but as soon as I met all the guys on my team I was fine. We have some of the best chemistry Iíve seen, on and off the field.
SethSpeaks: What is the transition like from the Midwest League to the Florida State League?
Trevor Plouffe: Well, itís nice to know I wonít have to play in snow this season. As far as the league goes, I think baseball is baseball. Guys are getting a little stronger, a little smarter, but overall the change hasnít been too drastic.
SethSpeaks: What is the best part, so far, about a career in baseball?
Trevor Plouffe: I like the traveling. Baseball has brought me to places I know I would never have gotten to see otherwise. Being able to compete everyday with a bunch of my friends is another great thing. The one run games and the come from behind wins are what we all play for.
SethSpeaks: What is the most difficult part of life in baseball?
Trevor Plouffe: Just being away from my family and friends. Knowing that I wonít get to see a California summer for awhile is kind of a bummer, but honestly I love what Iím doing and am grateful for the opportunity to play.
SethSpeaks: Favorite baseball movie?
SethSpeaks: Favorite baseball book?
Trevor Plouffe: The Shortstop by Rob Trucks. It talks about what it takes to play shortstop at the major league level.
SethSpeaks: What are your goals for the rest of the 2006 season?
Trevor Plouffe: Just to continue to improve, get a little better everyday. I think we have a pretty good squad in Fort Myers right now, so it would be nice to get into the playoffs and cause some damage.
SethSpeaks: You have primarily played SS, but have played a bit of 3B this year as well. How has that transition been?
Trevor Plouffe: Itís been fairly easy. The angle is different, as are my assignments, but itís still infield. Itís good to learn other positions. No one wants to be a one dimensional player. Iím still without a doubt a shortstop, but a little versatility is never a bad thing.
SethSpeaks: What do you think it will be like to put on a big league uniform in a regular season for the first time?
Trevor Plouffe: I think it will be pretty surreal. Thatís what Iíve wanted since day one. I mean we practice and play everyday, basically not knowing anything else, just for that. Having even the opportunity to play major league baseball is special, let alone making it and staying there.
SethSpeaks: Is there anything else that you would like to share with Twins fans around the country about yourself?
Trevor Plouffe: I want to say thanks for all the support. I know the Twins have one of the best fan bases in baseball, and I look forward to contributing to that for years to come.
Paul, thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions so well. During the season, I would imagine free time is at a premium! So thank you!
Do you have any thoughts or questions for Trevor Plouffe or me? If so, please feel free to e-mail me.
If you would like to read any previous Q&A's, here is a checklist:
I didn't watch all of the games over the weekend, but did note a few things. I am sure there are others, so please feel free to e-mail me or leave some Comments below.
Two very different styles showed in last night's Angels/Twins game, in terms of usage of a closer. Now, some of this might have to do with home/road situations, but I do think it says a lot. With the game tied in the ninth, Angels manager Mike Scioscia put his closer, Francisco Rodriguez, into the game. K-Rod, as he is too frequently called, threw two shutout innings. When it was not a Save situation for the Twins in the bottom of the 9th, Ron Gardenhire went with Jesse Crain to face the 3-4-5 hitters of the Angels. Now, it worked out fine and Crain pitched two excellent innings. However, I just think it may be a different way of thinking.
Just a question, Lew Ford started in left field on Sunday against righty Joel Pineiro. Now, that is not a big deal, and I never have a problem with Lew Ford getting to play. However, against a righty, shouldn't Jason Kubel be in the lineup? If he isn't going to start that game, then why was he called up? Why not purchase the contract of Jason Tyner, or Josh Rabe, and let them play in a reserve role?
Francisco Liriano was excellent again on Friday night. I don't think that surprises anyone. Boof Bonser gave up four runs in the second inning on Saturday night, but worked out of other situations and went five innings. The young guys are getting it done. Now Liriano should be extended a little bit, hopefully able to start giving six or seven innings.
Listening to the Ron Gardenhire Show Sunday morning, a caller asked Gardy if he plans to continue going with the young arms or if he plans to bring Silva back into the rotation. His response was great, in my opinion. He reiterated that he would like for Silva to get his sinker working and for him to get back into the rotation. His response totally centered around Silva and the young pitchers. At no point did he make any comment about a potential return for Kyle Lohse. Twins fans everywhere were probably happy!
Speaking of young guys getting it done... How about the lackadaisical effort of veteran Luis Castillo on the 8th inning, 2 out liner that allowed the Angels to tie the game? How about the veteran Rondell White getting picked off of 2nd base in the 9th inning??
By the way, Rondell White went 2-4 last night, and his batting average is now at .200!!
Michael Cuddyer is one of my favorite Twins, everyone knows that. He has been hitting great since being given daily duties. However, does anyone else strike out on fastballs right down the middle? Is he just a guess hitter or what? Maybe someone else can explain it to me. But then again, his home run was an absolute laser that couldn't have reached even 15 feet above the ground.
Joe Mauer went 1-4 last night and his average dropped to .348. He now has an eight game hitting streak during which time he is hitting .500 (17-34). He has hit in 15 out of 16 games, and the only game that he did not get a hit was one in which he was used as a ninth inning pinch hitter and got out.
Fortunately for the Twins, they get to hit against Jeff Weaver tonight. Why? Because it is better than trying to hit against his brother, Jered Weaver, who made his big league debut over the weekend for the Angels. He got the win and gave up just three hits and no runs in seven innings.
Take a look at John Sickels' look at the Twins Draft of 1989. It is really an impressive group.
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, the Angels, or anything else? If so, send me an e-mail, or post some Comments below.
ROGER'S MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Throughout the year, our friend "Roger" will be keeping tabs of the Twins minor leaguers again. This year, he is coming up with a minor league hitter and pitcher each week. Feel free to comment! And don't forget to check out his weekly minor league update at Twinkie Town.
Player of the Week - Alex Romero, New Britain Rockcats
ÖRomero is a Rock Cat outfielder who began the season at Rochester, but was demoted when Jason Kubel was returned to the Red Wings after the first week of the season. Romero became one of the Twins top outfield prospects following an excellent 2004/2005 winter season in his native Venezuela. Alex had an excellent week, getting 11 hits in 27 at bats with 6 runs scored, 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 6 rbi. Romero, who leads the team with a .310Ave, also had 4 stolen bases in 5 attempts.
Runner-up is Ft. Myers outfielder Garrett Guzman, who is the best story of this season following his missing all of 2005 following a major auto accident in which he broke his neck. Garrett had a key 7th inning 2 run homer in Saturdayís 7-3 win and a pinch hit double driving in the winning run of Thursdayís 10-inning win. For the week Guzman was 7 for 25 with 5 runs scored, 2 doubles and 1 home run. His 9 rbi this week boosted his system leading total to 37.
Pitcher of the Week - Matt Garza, New Britain Rockcats
ÖIt seems that Matt is worthy of some type of mention nearly every week, and this week is no exception. Garza had one start this week, pitching 6.0 innings with 4 hits, 0 earned runs and 9K/0BB. He now has a 0.00era and 0.39WHIP in 2 starts for the Rock Cats.
Our runner up is fellow 2005 draftee, Danny Powers, who has been excellent in long relief since his promotion to Ft. Myers. Danny got into 2 games this week, pitching 5.1 innings with 3 hits, 0 earned runs and 6K/1BB. His era at Ft. Myers is 1.76 with a 0.78WHIP in 15.1ip.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Paul Kelly, Beloit Snappers
SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - David Shinskie, Beloit Snappers
If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Monday - Red Wings 1, Toledo 3 Ė Kyle Lohse pitched the complete game for the Red Wings. The righty went eight innings and gave up three runs (2 earned) on four hits and two walks. He struck out three. Of his 109 pitches, 72 of them were strikes. Terry Tiffee went 2-4, and Glenn Williams went 1-2 with a walk and the lone RBI.
Weekend Notes - Josh Rabe had two hits in each weekend game. He hit his second home on Saturday night. Jason Bartlett hit his 20th double that night. Jason Hart hit his fourth home on Sunday.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Monday - Rockcats 5, Portland 9 Ė Glen Perkins falls to 1-5 with another rough start. Yes, of the six runs he allowed, just one was earned. However, in five innings, he also gave up seven hits including two home runs. Justin Olson gave up three runs in his two innings. Jay Sawatski threw a scoreless inning. The offense was certainly working as six players had two hits; Denard Span, Matt Moses, Doug Deeds, Felix Molina, Jose Morales and Tommy Watkins. Span stole his ninth base. Moses hit his seventh double. Deeds had his 12th and 13th doubles. Trent Oeltjen was 1-2, but he added two walks.
Weekend Notes - How well is Errol Simonitsch pitching? On Friday, he went seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits. He walked none and struck out six. That night, Matt Moses knocked his eighth homer. On Saturday, Steve Lomanskey hit his second homer, a 9th inning, game-winning homer. Something crazy happened on Sunday... Matt Garza had a bad start. The righty went just four innings and gave up four runs on five hits. He walked none and struck out five. Danny Matienzo hit his fifth homer, and Scott Whitrock got his second on Sunday as well.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Monday - Miracle - No Game Scheduled
Weekend Notes - Like Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey actually had an off-start on Friday. He went 6.1 innings and gave up two runs on three hits. The crazy part was that he walked three hitters while striking out five. Kevin West was the offense with a 2-2 game with two walks, a double and three RBI. On Saturday, Kyle Geiger went 3-5. Jeremy Pickrel went 3-3 with a double and three RBI. Sunday, Justin Jones got his first start back with the Miracle. The lefty went seven innings and gave up no runs on five hits and two walks. Danny Powers finished with two shutout innings. Brock Peterson, Jeremy Pickrel and Matt Tolbert each had two hits including a homer.
Monday - Snappers 8, Quad Cities 6 Ė Steven Tolleson led the offense with a 3-4 day. Paul Kelly went 2-4 with his 13th double, second triple and three RBI. Edward Ovalle was 2-4 with his seventh stolen base. Caleb Moore went 2-4. Ryan Mullins struggled again. In 6.2 innings, he gave up six runs (3 earned) on ten hits. He walked none and struck out three. David Shinskie then threw 2.1 scoreless.
Weekend Notes - Kyle Waldrop threw seven innings on Saturday. He gave up just a run on three hits and two walks. Erik Lis was 3-4 with his 20th double. Edward Ovalle hit his fourth home on Saturday, and a grand slam on Sunday. Paul Kelly hit his third homer, and Brian Duensing gave up just two runs in six inning.
Do you have any further thoughts on any Twins prospects, minor leaguers, or these summaries? I would love any input, or ideas to make it better. Thanks! E-mail me, or also feel free to leave comments below.
Let me know what you think. Send me an e-mail, or let's talk about it in the Comments here. That is it for today!|
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