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2/12/10

Nick Punto Day: Friday February 12th

What's black and blue all over and gets an average of a wrist surgery every other year?

You know the answer...
(Hint: he was the lead off hitter for Team Italy in the past World Baseball Cup)



Lots of things have been said about Nick Punto and I am not going to get there tonight (other that snide remark above)

Nick Punto has been a decent utility infielder with the Twins.

His career line .248/.322/.324 (.647 OPS) was to be projected from his career minor league line (.265/.361/.338), so there is no surprise that he has been consistent with the bat.

He is an above average fielder, he is small (5'9, 170 lbs; generously listed) and can play multiple positions and can play them well, albeit a tad fancy (read: form vs. function)



He is a "gamer", "plays his heart out" and "knows how to use the bat". This describes a slew of smaller utility players the Twins had since pretty much their move to Minnesota. Case in point, here are Nick Punto's predecessors, their MLB career slash lines and their listed height and weight in playing days:

Denny Hocking: .251/.310/.344 .654 OPS (1997-2004) 5'10, 176 lbs
Jeff Reboulet: .240/.332/.318 .649 OPS (1992-1996) 6'0", 169 lbs
Al Newman: .226/.304/.266 .570 OPS (1987-1991) 5'9, 183 lbs
Ron Washington: .261/.292/.368 .659 OPS (1981-1986) 5'11, 163 lbs
Rob Wilfong .248/.303/.345 .648 OPS (1977-1981) 6'1", 185 lbs
Luis Gomez .210/.261/.239 .500 OPS (1974-1977) 5'9", 150 lbs



Nothing out of the ordinary



other than the facts that:

Ron Gardenhire handled Punto a starting job (and I hope he does not do it again) and lobbied to sign him to a contract bigger than that of Orlando Hudson's.



Newmie will probably get (s)elected into the Twins' Hall of Fame, Punto is really on his footsteps (minus a couple of rings). Give him the rings and he will be in. Don't like the way he is playing or the fact that he starts? Don't blame him, blame the Manager of the Millennium

2 comments:

Topper said...

Nick Punto is certainly riding the Al Newman coattails. Wasnt Punto listed on the Twins all Metrodome team ballot at Shortstop? That's crazy...

Marv said...

Punto is a wonderful utility player. Why he hits much better when he has a lot of days off is a mystery to me, but there is a lot of evidence toward that end.
If he wasn't handed a starting role there would be a lot more appreciation for Nick Punto.
I agree that it is the way he is handled that leads to frustration with LNP.
Otherwise, who wouldn't enjoy a utility guy who can come in, work a walk, run the bases well* and field well?

* I still put the misplay on the bases in the Yankee game by Punto on Scott Ullger. What the hell was he doing down by home plate? He should have been at 3B where LNP could see him and telling Nick what to do, not hiding behind the catcher.