- Full name Luke Trevor Hughes
- Born 08/02/1984 in Perth, Australia
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 205 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Hampton Senior
- Debut 04/28/2010
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Twins' international efforts are as wide-ranging as any team, with Hughes the latest Australian to make waves as a prospect. (Grant Balfour, who found success with the Rays in 2008, has been the best product of the Twins' efforts Down Under.) Protected on the 40-man roster in November, Hughes never has been considered a top prospect in the past because of a litany of minor injuries and an inability to garner consistent playing time. His 99 games played and 391 at-bats in 2007 were both career highs. He missed time in 2008 with a hamstring pull that kept him out of most of June. He was healthy enough to play in both the Double-A Eastern League all-star game and the Futures Game, where he put on a power display in batting practice on par with anyone on hand. Hughes has true plus power. He came to spring camp stronger and in better shape than ever before, and when he squares a ball up, it flies. He doesn't have a pure swing or approach--he's a front-foot hitter and lacks patience--but generates above-average bat speed and can kill good fastballs. Hughes came up as a middle infielder and hasn't found a position he can play regularly at an average level. He's not smooth defensively with stiff hands, and the Twins sent him to Venezuela for winter ball to get more reps at third base, but Aragua soon shifted him to left field. If Hughes can't play infield well, he likely won't be a regular and fits better as a utility player. He logged time at second base and played briefly at all three outfield spots in 2008. He's likely headed to Triple-A in 2009, where he may have to compete with Danny Valencia for playing time at third base.
The Twins are excited about the hitting potential of two young Australian infielders signed by Howard Norsetter. Paul Rutgers, who batted .353 in the Gulf Coast League last year, profiles as an offensive second baseman. Hughes has the athleticism to play shortstop but may end up as a third baseman in the Joe Randa mold. Minnesota signed him out of Major League Baseball's academy in Australia. He was one of his nation's top hitters but injuries kept him out of major international competition in 2001 and 2002. A GCL all-star along with Rutgers, Hughes impresses the Twins with his instincts and makeup. He doesn't currently possess a lot of power, but he shows enough strength to drive the ball with a good swing. Hughes has played against older competition for years in Australia's Claxton Shield tournament, providing scouts the opportunity to see him handle plus fastballs. He uses the whole field and makes good contact. A 4.5-second runner down the first-base line when he signed, Hughes cut his time to 4.3 seconds, which is average speed. He makes the plays and has a plus arm at shortstop, but his range is better suited for the hot corner. He'll probably head to Elizabethton after opening 2004 in extended spring training.