Trevor Plouffe looked like a changed hitter to me in spring training of 2014. The plate coverage he was getting while driving the ball to his opposite field — even in batting practice — was in contrast to most of what had been seen from him previously.

There was also an ongoing maturity in his approach to being a big leaguer. A few years earlier, there was a night when he booted a couple of balls in big situations, then walked away with high irritation from reporters when asked about it postgame.

Now, he's a player who handles both success and the rest of it in a low-key, professional manner. He's also a capable No. 4 hitter and is making plays at third base that would've been hard to imagine not long ago.

Plouffe is a great lesson in patience for all of us who bleat that the Twins should make changes based on early failure. He has proved that waiting for talent to win the day can be a very good thing.

Patrick +: