Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nick Punto

Nick Punto has been a very good player for the Twins. He has contributed to their long run of success since he arrived in 2004, handling three different positions with exceptional defense. Because he is so flexible, the Twins have been able to fill out an infield with the best available players at the other positions, knowing Punto can fill in wherever needed.

While his defense is outstanding, on offense Punto has had his ups and downs. He lacks any power, so his already low batting averages some years have been even emptier. Where he makes up for that is by working pitchers. There were several times last year that the top of the order benefited from a pitcher who was cruising along until worn down by Punto. He is not an easy out and that is reflected in his decent on base percentages even when his batting average is down.

He has not been particularly durable. When asked to play 150 games in 2007, he had his worst offensive year. Bad enough that even his stellar defense didn't make up for his lack of offense. That is largely the basis of all the abuse he gets. But he recovered with a lighter work load in 2008 and 2009. Still his durability is something to keep in mind this year when he will likely share third base with Brendan Harris.

Some people would call Punto the quintessential utility player. But he is really better than that. He is not Cesar Tovar, but he's not Al Newman either to name a couple of past Twins payers with similar versatility. Utility players don't get 400+ at bats year after year.

This may well be Punto's last year with the Twins. He is losing some of his defensive prowess as he ages and the Twins have Matt Tolbert ready to replace some of what he brings to the table. But he has served the Twins and their fans well up until now. It would be great if he could leave with a World Series ring.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said

Anonymous said...

Last year with the Twins my ass...Gardy will quit if they don't pick up his option.

Anonymous said...

Utility players don't get 400+ at bats year after year.

Candidate for the worst logic ever?

Anonymous said...

your are wrong

Goose Nissley said...

Good thoughts, but I think the 'very' preceding 'good' at the open of the piece might be a tad strong!

TT said...

They may try to resign him, but I don't the Twins will pick up Punto's option for $5 million unless they need him at shortstop.

TwinsFan said...

Punto is best player on roster. Mauer can't hold Puntos jock

Anonymous said...

He has a world series ring.

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