But no one ever compared Joe Mauer to Nick Punto. Punto was totally overlooked in the MVP conversation. I'm sure this hurt Punto even more than a head-first slide into first base.
If Punto hasn't been sadly overlooked for the MVP, he would have beat Joe Mauer for the award. It might not seem obvious at first, but I'm sure you will all agree with me after seeing my reasoning, thinks that people overlook about Punto. After the jump, I will analyze Punto and Mauer in 5 important categories and prove why Nick Punto is a more valuable player than Joe Mauer.
1. Ability to hit 5 consecutive home runs
This is the most important quality for any baseball player. I'm sure everyone dreams of hitting 5 consecutive home runs, but no one has ever done it before. So the first question we should ask - who is more capable of hitting 5 consecutive home runs, Nick Punto or Joe Mauer?
I think Nick Punto is the clear winner in this category. Neither Punto nor Mauer has ever hit 5 consecutive home runs. People will point out that Nick Punto only hit one home run all of last season. But that just makes Punto more likely to hit 5 consecutive home runs, because no one will ever expect it from him. Pitchers know that Mauer can hit for power, so they will pitch around him. But no one ever needs to pitch around Punto - this makes him the perfect candidate for 5 consecutive home runs. People like CC Sabathia will say "there is no way that Nick Punto can ever hit an HR off of me, I will give him 5 consecutive pitches right down the middle because he can't do it." However, just like Scrappy Doo, Nick Punto has a lot of power for a little guy. Nick Punto will hear CC Sabathia say that, and Punto will splat those 5 pitches right out of the park. Never underestimate Scrappy Doo.
Also, as I will discuss more below, Joe Mauer is lazy. He would probably be content with hitting 4 consecutive home runs. Then he would take a walk or do something else useless because he was too lazy for another HR.
2. Double Plays
Here, we should discuss both turning double plays (good) and hitting into double plays (bad). This is very straightforward.
Defensively, Nick Punto turned 64 double plays in 2009. Wow that is a lot of double plays! Gardy is proud I'm sure. But what about Joe Mauer? Everyone seems to love his defense. How many double plays did Mauer turn in 2009? Oh wait... zero!!! This proves that Punto is a better player than Mauer - Punto turned over 1 billion times more double plays in 2009 than Mauer.
Offensively, Nick Punto grounded into 7 double plays. That's not too bad. In fact, in many cultures 7 is considered a lucky number, so you could say that Nick Punto actually grounded into the ideal number of double plays.
How about Joe Mauer? Well he grounded into 13 double plays. That's almost double the number of Nick Punto. What's that you say? 13 is an unlucky number? Oh my! I think this explains a lot. Nick Punto brings only good luck by hitting into 7 double plays. But Joe Mauer brings bad luck, hitting into 13 double plays. Nick Punto's good luck was clearly responsible for the Twins' amazing late season winning spree. And Joe Mauer's bad luck was clearly responsible for the Twins being swept by the Yankees. There you have it.
Obviously Nick Punto is superior to Joe Mauer when we're talking about double plays and lucky numbers.
3. Stolen Bases
Again, this is no contest. Nick Punto, showing his qualities of grit and being a gamer, stole 16 bases. He was caught only 3 times. Joe "Slow" Mauer stole only 4 bases, and he was caught once. Maybe Slow Mauer is just too lazy to steal as many bases as LNP (Lightning Nick Punto).
LNP stole 4x as many bases as Mauer. Whoa! I think we can all agree that Slow Mauer is lousy at stealing bases. The reason why is that Slow Mauer is just too honest and too nice. Pitchers always know when Mauer is going to steal a base, because he always looks guilty before he does it. But Lightning Nick Punto just looks gritty before he's about to steal a base - you can't read his poker face. LNP may have been caught 3 times, but this is only because in those games the umpire clearly had it in for Punto.
4. Overall Stats
As I previously discussed, the Twins should fire Joe Mauer after he went 0 for 68 with 15 Ks and 0 walks in a bunch of games I cherry picked. Let's look at Nick Punto in comparison.
In contrast, in 13 games that I thought best represented Nick Punto, he was 28 for 39, with 5 doubles, 1 home run, and 11 walks. That's good for a total slash line of .718/.780/.923! Wow! Can you say "Albert Pujols of the Twins?"
So who do you really want on your team? A guy who hits .000/.000/.000 (Lazy bum Mauer) or a guy who hits .718/.780/.923 (Nick
Pujols Punto). The choice is clear.
But we all know that statistics lie. If you don't buy my objective criteria for why Nick Punto out MVPed Joe Mauer, I ask you to look at something more basic - grittiness. We all know how much of a gamer that Nick Punto is - Gardy always reminds us. But Slow Mauer is too lazy and too honest to ever show the kind of hustle that defines Nick Punto. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, I will show you why Nick Punto has so much more grit than Joe Mauer:
Lightning Nick Punto (notice the dirty uniform and serious look on his face)
Lazy Joe Mauer (notice the hammock, lack of any uniform, and the not-taking-the-game-seriously-enough smile)
I rest my case. Feel free to squabble in the comments, but I think we all know the real MVP here.