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Plouffe Says He's Ready To Play For Pay

June 7, 2004
By John Millea

MINNEAPOLIS--The Twins picked an outstanding pitcher with their first pick in the 2004 draft, but they plan to immediately mark him as a shortstop. And that's just fine with California high schooler Trevor Plouffe.

The 18-year-old was taken with the 20th overall pick out of Crespi High in Northridge, Calif. The 6-1, 175-pound Plouffe threw a no-hitter in his first varsity start as a ninth-grader, and continued to build one of the finest pitching resumes in high school baseball.

Plouffe went 25-2 in his final two years as a prep pitcher and 33-6 overall. But he's been equally good at the plate, hitting .500 as a junior and senior and .431 over four years.

"I'm definitely convinced I'm a shortstop pitching," Plouffe said. "I think I can do a lot more for a team playing every day."

Interestingly, Plouffe was one of the few players the Twins took early in the draft who won't pitch. Minnesota had five of the first 39 picks in the draft and used the next four on pitchers, as well as 14 of their first 17 picks.

Baseball America rated Plouffe as the 39th-best prospect in the draft and one of the top pure hitters among high school players. "He's been here for four years, and I've never really seen him have a slump," Crespi coach Scott Muckey said. "We'll think we've seen it all, and he comes up with something else."

Plouffe, the son of a swimming-pool contractor, signed a letter of intent to Southern California, but he clearly wants to begin his professional career.

"I'm going to have to pass that up," Plouffe said of his college scholarship. "My chance is to play professionally so that's what I want to do. I'm excited that I don't have homework to do anymore.

"My dad's always discussed the possibility of maybe getting to play baseball for a living if I worked hard enough. The operative word is play. This is a game, and you're lucky to be able to play. He'd take me to work with him and say, 'This is work; you could do this or you could play for a living.' I knew then that I didn't want to have to work and have a real job. I'm very fortunate to be in the position I am. How many people can get paid to play like a kid?"

In addition to Plouffe's physical skills, the Twins also like his unselfishness on the field. The best example of that, Muckey said, came in a game when Plouffe hit home runs in his first three at-bats.

"The fourth time up, he lays down a drag bunt," Muckey said. "That wasn't me; he put that on himself. Most guys would be swinging for the fences. But that's typical of him. If he thinks that's the best way to help the team, he'll bunt. He's not a guy to try to impress anyone. What makes him happiest is seeing his teammates come together and they win as a team.

"He's handled everything amazingly well. There's no trace of an ego."

TWIN KILLINGS

The Twins went local, a la Joe Mauer, with the 22nd overall pick. They selected University of Minnesota lefthander Glen Perkins, a Twin Cities native who was 15-0 against Big 10 Conference teams in two years as a Gopher. Perkins went 9-3, 2.83 in 15 starts this season.

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