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Say hello to the bad guy
Justin Morneau (sore wrist) told the Minnesota Twins that he's ready to return when eligible, on Wednesday, for activation from the DL. As the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, he also informed the club that his preference is to return as a full-time first baseman. No more of this DH bull, he says.
Minnesota had already indicated that Chris Parmelee or Trevor Plouffe was at risk to lose his roster spot. To clear room for Morneau, the Twins optioned Parmelee, a first baseman, to Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday, after their contest against the Cleveland Indians. Did Morneau play the bad guy?
OK, that's highly unlikely. Phil Mackey already explained why Plouffe was basically a lock to stick. If there was any doubt, John Shipley delivers the view from GM Terry Ryan, who basically told the reporter that it's now or never for the 25-year-old.
Plouffe has 20-homer power, but he continues to struggle to put the ball in play with any conviction and hasn't hit for average yet in the majors. To eliminate the possibility that the right-handed batter simply hasn't received at-bats consistently, the organization is going to give them to him - to see if he can put together consistent at-bats.
The .212 hitter lifetime in 387 at-bats has a .133 average in 60 at-bats this season. His .288 OBP is semi-remarkable, in light of his poor hitting. Plouffe has walked in 17.8 percent of his plate appearances, which would easily be a career high, at any level. He's also made contact 81.4 percent of the time, according to FanGraphs, and he's swung at only 40.8 percent of the pitches he's seen. Has Plouffe become gun-shy?
Although it doesn't look good, AL roto managers should hang on to him, if possible, simply because he should continue to play. It's not clear how long the Twins will stick with Plouffe, but if he doesn't turn up the aggressiveness and pick it up on O, he could be gone by the end of the month. His glove-work, no matter the position, isn't going to keep him around.
Parmelee owners in deep AL leagues can retain hope. In 81 at-bats, the left-handed hitter was batting just .185 with no jacks. He was driving the ball, at least, but he's been much more aggressive than he was last year and really at any time on the farm. The number of pitches he's seen per plate appearance has declined notably, which goes along with the increase in frequency of swinging strikes and strikeouts - as well as the sharp decrease in walk rate.
You may recall that Parmelee was scorching-hot in spring training before he cooled off near the end of it to finish with a .261/.350/.536 slash line. He also put up a .355/.443/.592 set in his 88 MLB plate appearances last season. If he gets back to controlling the strike zone, the 24-year-old can still be a dangerous hitter in the majors. Minnesota may be rife with opportunity all season, given the injury histories of many of their players. Heck, Parmelee could be the beneficiary if and when Plouffe gets the boot.
If the Twins send Plouffe packing and Parmelee isn't the call-up, perhaps it'll be Pedro Florimon. The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Jim Souhan suggested that possibility. It seems unlikely, but if that came about, his 15-steal potential probably wouldn't yield any roto fruit, considering the 25-year-old's terrible plate discipline.
So, fantasy baseball players might as well keep their eyes peeled for speedster Ben Revere. His early-season demotion was confirmation that the Twins wished to test the older "prospects" first. After a couple of months, it may become obvious that those fellas are just pretending - in which case, it's time to promote the real playas.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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