|In an image tweeted by Twins PR man|
Dustin Morse, Anthony Swarzak starts
cutting Trevor Plouffe's hair.
On May 13 — Mother's Day — the former first-round pick and former shortstop went 1-for-3, which raised his batting average to .140. After the game, teammate (and fellow 2004 draftee) Anthony Swarzak sheared off Plouffe's flowing mane of hair for Locks of Love.
Since then, Plouffe has hit eight homers and four doubles -- a slash line of .278/.307/.667. That's not much of an OBP, but that slugging percentage is quite impressive. For the season he stands today at .217/.299/.473.
His offense, in short, has been all power. But that's more than Danny Valencia was contributing, and the sharp improvement in Plouffe's walk/strikeout rate suggests that, if anything, his batting average and on-base percentages are flukishly low. In 2011, in 320 plate appearances, Plouffe drew 25 walks and struck out 71 times; this year, in 144 PAs, 15 walks and 28 strikeouts.
Valencia was shipped down to Rochester about a month ago, and Plouffe has gotten most of his playing time at third base since. Jamey Carroll's played there some also, and Plouffe's had starts in the outfield and at first base as well, but he's taking a grip on the third base job.
And Plouffe has been better there than I could have imagined. He's made some errors, but he's also turned some double plays, and the defensive metrics I keep tabs on peg him as a slightly below average defender -- nowhere near the disaster that he was at shortstop.
A month ago, I didn't think Plouffe could last much longer in the majors. Today, he's looking pretty good.
At least if you don't mind the haircut.