General manager Terry Ryan revealed during a 1500-ESPN radio interview yesterday that Trevor Plouffe will be an outfielder going forward, which isn’t shocking considering how awful the former first-round pick looked as an infielder for the Twins despite playing 680 games at shortstop in the minors.
He has the tools to be a strong corner outfielder defensively and with Jamey Carroll signed to a two-year, $7 million deal that may be the clearest path to at-bats in 2012, but before the middle of this year Plouffe had never even played the outfield in seven pro seasons.
Moving to the outfield full time also means Plouffe’s bat will be held to a much higher standard and aside from a 50-game stretch at Triple-A this year he’s never really produced like a corner outfielder.
He’s hit .262 with a .767 OPS in 337 games at Triple-A and .226 with a .668 OPS in 103 games in the majors, so unless his two-month breakout in Rochester at age 25 is a sign of things to come Plouffe will have trouble hitting enough to be more than a platoon player.
Fans sitting behind first base at Target Field won’t have to worry about ducking as much, though.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.