Sep 1, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Minnesota Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe (24) throws out Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz (not pictured) at first base during the seventh inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Minnesota Twins defeated Baltimore Orioles 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
No doubt, the starting third base spot is Trevor’s to lose. After a strong 2014 at the plate in which he drove in a career high 80 runs, while also batting a career high .258, Plouffe seemed to put some things together in his age 28 season. While he still struck out over 100 times (109), he drew a career high in walks (53) which helped to produce a career high on base percentage as well (.328).
In the field, Plouffe showed advanced range, and in turn, produced a career high 4.0 WAR. Just three seasons ago, Plouffe was responsible for being 22 runs worse than average, and last season the turnaround was 180 degrees as he was responsible for being 15 runs better than average. His .960 fielding percentage was also the best mark he has posted in his five-year major league career.
For Plouffe, Spring Training will be about continuing the process. He will need to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke, and that a corner has in fact been turned. Coming off of surgery in September he should be more than ready to go at this point. Although he may find himself playing in the outfield at some point in the future, Plouffe has done enough to be regarded as the clear frontrunner for the forseeable future at the hot corner.