Saturday Morning Breakfast & Baseball: Nick Punto Edition

Au revoir, Nick. Enjoy, Cardinals fans.

Forever the whipping boy of the Minnesota Twins blogosphere, you have to admit a few things about Nick Punto's tenure with the team. Whatever you want to say about results, the guy left it all on the field. A lot of guys don't give it everything, and Punto definitely did. He had a couple of good seasons, and in general for a guy who profiles like a backup utility player the Twins could have done a lot worse. He was also a member of four division championship teams.

Anyway, enough waxing positive about the Cardinals' new uber-fielder. This morning's bite-sized morsels of Punto facts is best served with eggs, bacon and a big glass of orange juice.

  • Nick Punto was originally drafted by the Twins in the 33rd round of the 1997 draft. But he didn't sign, and the Phillies signed him the following season after selecting him in round 21.
  • In his seven seasons with the Twins, Punto made (including his 2011 option buyout) just a shade over $14,000,000.
  • He appeared in 747 games with the Twins, which is about 107 games per year, totalling 2707 plate appearances, which is about 387 per year.
  • Punto's best seasons were in 2008, when he hit .284/.344/.382, and in 2006, batting .290/.352/.373. For his Twins career his triple slash is a middle infielder's "meh": .248/.323/.324 while stealing 89 bases.
  • In seven seasons with the Twins he accumulated 6.5 WAR, according to BaseballReference.com, with his best seasons being the aforementioned 2008 (2.1 WAR) and 2006 (3.2).
  • In spite of being a member of four AL Central title squads, he appeared in the post-season in just two of those seasons: 2006 and 2009. While he was just 2-for-12 against Oakland in '06, he was one of the players who showed up against New York in '09 as he went 4-for-9 with three walks...AND A BASERUNNING FAIL. We won't talk ill of the departed.
  • Defensively, which is where Punto picked up a lot of his value for his versatility, he appeared at third base in 276 games, at shortstop in 248 games and 235 games at second. Of course, he also made token appearances in center field (nine games), right (one) and left fields (one).
  • I previewed Nick Punto's 2010 last February for LNP Day. Turns out the four oracles over-estimated his contributions.
  • Jon followed with what a daily itinerary of Punto's looks like.
  • Stu mentioned his yesterday, but it's worth your time to read again.
  • Adam compares LNP to Brett Saberhagen. Remember Saberhagen? He's right up there with names like Appier and Finley and Candiotta and Key...pitchers who may not have much more in common than the fact that they remind me of baseball in the late 80s and early 90s when it wasn't anything more than a mishmash of names that my dad listened to on the radio.
  • I'd be remiss if I didn't include one from the Bat-Girl archives.
  • Finally, if you miss him at all, please feel free to check out his highlights over at MLB.com.

We'll top it off with aLNP highlight reel from Joel 10881 on YouTube.


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