January 26, 2010

Top 50 Twins Prospects 2010: #25 Luke Hughes

2010 Top 50 Twins Prospects | #25 | Luke Hughes

Position | Third Base

Bats/Throws | Right/Right

| August 2, 1984 (Perth, Australia)

| Hampton High School

| 5'11''

| 205 lbs.

2009 Ranking | 11

Luke Hughes signed with the Twins as an undrafted free agent out of Australia back in 2002. He began his career in rookie ball, playing for the Gulf Coast League Twins and Elizabethton Twins in 2003 and 2004. Between the two teams, Hughes hit .296/.351/.423 in 331 at-bats. In 2005, he continued to move through the Twins system, with Low-A Beloit being his next destination. Hughes hit a measly .257/.319/.390 with a 3-1 K/BB ratio but was still promoted. He finished the season with High-A Fort Myers and looked completely overmatched in 23 games, hitting .202/.222/.262. In 2006, Hughes remained in the Florida State League and had a sub-.600 OPS in 95 games with the Miracle.

Despite his struggles in Fort Myers, the Twins continued to promote Hughes through the organization at a steady pace. In 2007, Hughes rebounded in Double-A New Britain, hitting .283/.356/.438 with 28 extra-base hits. He also cut his K/BB ratio down to 2-1, which still isn't good by any standards, but is a notable improvement. After posting the best numbers of his career, the Twins decided to hold Hughes back in Double-A for the 2008 season. Hughes responded by hitting a robust .319/.385/.551 with 15 home runs in 70 games with the Rock Cats. Eight of Hughes' 15 home runs with the Rock Cats came in the first month of the season. Injuries hampered his arrival time to Triple-A Rochester, but he eventually got there and hit .283/.325/.453 with three home runs in 29 games. In all, Hughes finished the 2008 season with a combined .309/.369/.524 with 44 extra-base hits in 391 at-bats. Hughes was given the reigns at third base with the Red Wings in 2009, but he strained his oblique in June. He rehabbed with the GCL Twins and when he was deemed fit to return, he was demoted to New Britain where he could start at third base everyday. He finished the season hitting a combined .254/.335/.454 with 40 extra-base hits in 346 at-bats.

The biggest thing holding Hughes back is his glove. Having played throughout both the infield and outfield, Hughes still doesn't have a "set" position. The Twins seemed committed to making Hughes a third baseman in '09, which is why he went back to Double-A. Danny Valencia had since been called up to play third base with the Red Wings in Hughes' absence. Hughes doesn't belong back in New Britain, which means the Twins will have to find room for Hughes somewhere in Rochester.

2009 Statistics
          Level      G     PA     AVG     OBP     SLG     XBH     HR   wRC+
          R (GCL)    4     15    .273    .467    .273       0      0    145
AA 56 229 .250 .320 .445 24 6 106
AAA 37 157 .259 .344 .481 16 6 128

2010 Outlook

Hughes needs to be in Rochester in 2010. Regardless of the position, Hughes needs to be in the Red Wings lineup on a daily basis.


Estimated Time of Arrival