Tsuyoshi Nishioka was supposed to bat second for the Twins this year. Then he broke his leg early. Joe Mauer slid into the No. 2 spot, which seemed like a fine option. Then he did something to his legs and we haven't seen him on the field since April 12. Five other players were given cracks at that spot in the lineup -- most notably, Alexi Casilla and Matt Tolbert. In 69 combined plate appearances in that spot, those two young men combined for seven hits and three walks.
Then along came Trevor Plouffe. While we're hardly here to say he's been fantastic, and we will also note we wince every time he throws the ball to first from shortstop, Plouffe has been downright Ruthian compared to the rest of the characters granted access to that sacred spot in the order.
After homering yesterday, Plouffe is 10-for-35 (.286) during 9 games the 2-hole, with a pair of homers, 8 RBI and 8 runs scored (his most recent game is not individually reflected in these stats, though it is oddly reflected in the team totals for No. 2 hitters).
All other No. 2 hitters in the order (including Mauer and Nishioka) are a combined 21-for-129 (.163) during 33 games in the 2-hole with 0 home runs, 8 RBI and 11 runs scored.
Plouffe's OPS, not surprisingly, is blowing the field out of the water, too. It's a small sample size, to be sure. And it's not like the Twins have been on fire when Plouffe plays (they are 3-6 in his nine starts). But when someone at least brings competency to a part of the Twins' world this season, it is cause for celebration.