2010 Twins Debuts: Luke Hughes

The Super Bowl is finally over and the NFL season has thankfully come to a close. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy watching football – college or NFL – but I am a much bigger fan of the regular season in both than I am the playoffs or the bowl/BCS (bunch-of-crap system).

Last week I covered Drew Butera who made his major league debut on April 9th, 2010. The 2nd Minnesota player to debut last season was Aussie infielder …

Luke Hughes – Third Base

Signed as a free agent in 2002 Hughes is a product of the Twins international efforts in Australia. While he has shown a decent amount of pop and some other positive traits, his defensive inconsistencies and his “friendship” with the injury bug have kept a lid on his prospect status. His best season in the minors came back in 2008. As a 23-year old that season he hit 0.319/0.385/.551 in 70 games with New Britain (AA) and then 0.283/.325/.453 in 29 games with Rochester (AAA). Hughes failed to capitalize and build upon his 2008 “breakout” and fell back to earth hitting 0.254/.335/.454 in 97 games with the GCL Twins (15 PA), New Britain (229 PA) and Rochester (157 PA).

Hughes started the 2010 season back in Rochester. He was hitting 0.267/.327/.444 in his 12 games when he was called up on the 23rd.

On April 28th, 2010 Hughes made his major league debut starting at 3B against the Detroit Tigers. He made it memorable by taking a Max Scherzer offering deep in the top of the 3rd inning. It was his first at bat of the game. The Twins would wind up on the wrong end of an 11-6 score and Hughes would finish the game 1-4 with his home run being his only highlight. He started at 3B the next afternoon and went 1-3 with 2 SO as the Twins lost to the Tigers again 3-0. Hughes was 2-7 with a HR and 3 SO after his first 2 games but was optioned back to Triple-A on April 30th to make room for Nick Punto‘s return from the DL.

Luke only played in 10 more games the rest of the season with Rochester. He lost most of the 2010 season due to a sports hernia and a groin injury, both of which were repaired in a “2-for-1 surgery” in late July/early August (I was unable to pinpoint the date).

After the MLB season ended, Hughes was able to get back on the field and played for Tigres de Aragua in the Venezuelan Winter League and hit 0.196/.305/.314 in 15 games. From there he headed home to Australia to play in the Australian Baseball League with the Perth Heat. In the ABL Luke hit 0.337/.448/.616 in 23 games and 86 at bats. He would have finished 5th in the league in BA, 1st in OBP and 1st in SLG but he fell short of the minimum 2.7 PA/G to qualify.

Luke Hughes has had his moments, but he’s never really profiled as an everyday major league player. That said he remains on the Twins 40-man roster and still has a chance to become a useful bench bat and utility player. His defense is a bit of a shortcoming but he is capable of playing 3B, 2B, and LF in spots. Brendan Harris has moved on, but Trevor Plouffe and Matt Tolbert appear to be options 1 and 2 to fill the Twins infield utility slot heading into 2011. As a result his opportunities to log major league service time in the upcoming season figure to be few and far between.

Topics: Brendan Harris, Luke Hughes, Matt Tolbert, Max Scherzer, Minnesota Twins, Nick Punto, Trevor Plouffe

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