Trevor Plouffe's popularity in fantasy baseball leagues is about to reach critical mass. That's one way of being able to tell if a player is blowing up. Plouffe, as we all know by now, is smashing the baseball.
When he hits it.
Over his last 20 games, Plouffe is hitting .308/.325/.756 with 10 homers, 5 doubles, and 18 RBI. He's also walked just twice compared to 19 strikeouts, but at this point who cares? The biggest weapon in Plouffe's arsenal is his sporadic power, and right now we're seeing what can happen when he catches a bit of fire. His OPS was .504 after play on May 14; it's now .829.
What the Twins have to like about Plouffe's current torrid pace (apart from realizing it's a long way from Danny Valencia's .231/.250/.360 line in Rochester) is that he's a power hitter who pulls the ball. It's a profile that played well for Michael Cuddyer, we're seeing play even better for Josh Willingham, and if what we're seeing from Plouffe is even a fraction of what he's capable of if he plays regularly then this team may have stumbled into one of the bats it's going to need.
At his current pace, Plouffe is projected to hit 29 home runs in 112 games. While he'll definitely play more than 112 games based on his current playing time (and continued health), his power will taper off eventually. But he is definitely capable of playing closer to 125 or 130 games this season, and there's a chance he could hit 25 out of the park.
You know that person you liked for a while, and maybe they liked you back or didn't but you weren't sure? That first time something happened - maybe it was something they said, or a text, or a touch - you were happy and nervous and possibly just a bit unsure about whether your interpretation of what just happened was an accurate portrayal of what was actually happening. That's where we're at with Trevor Plouffe. There isn't enough history, there isn't enough to go on, that will allow us to draw any real conclusions about what we've experienced over the last 20 games.
But the hope is there.