Sunday, July 12, 2009

Guys who can't hit

Nick Punto (right) is hitting .130 in July — 3 for 23. Which is (obviously) lousy. With nine walks, so his on-base percentage is .375. Which is pretty darn good.

There's a sample size issue there, of course, but nine walks in 32 plate appearances means he's not being a total disaster offensively this month. Not that's he's been good.

Just better than Brendan Harris.

* How does this makes sense: Of the 83 American League hitters who qualify for the batting title (and yes, that includes Joe Mauer and no, it does not include Nick Punto) the seven lowest batting averages all belong to first basemen and DHs. (That's counting Jack Cust of Oakland as a DH; he's played almost 40 percent of the A's innings in right field to allow Jason Giambi to DH. )

The seven, according to STATS LLC via Giambi, .192; Chris Davis (Texas, currently in the minors), .202; Ken Griffey Jr. (Seattle), .220; Mike Jacobs (Kansas City), .222; David Ortiz (Boston), .222; Cust, .230; and Carlos Pena (Tampa Bay). .230.

Now, most of these guys look a bit better in OPS, which gives credit for power and walks as well as batting average. But even there, only Pena (14th) ranks in the top half.

These guys are DHs and first basemen because they can't run and can't field. And if they can't hit, either, what use are they?

*Looking at the OPS rankings: Davis is ahead of only an aging shortstop (Orlando Cabrera of Oakland) and a crippled third baseman (Adrian Beltre). Noteworthy because there was talk during the winter of the Twins acquiring either or both of those guys.

Twins general manager Bill Smith takes a lot of heat for some of his moves; the Matt Garza-Jason Bartlett for Delmon Young-Brendan Harris deal looks worse every month. He's avoided some bad ones too.

* I make the rules for this blog, so I'll declare this Brad Radke quote relevant to the theme of this entry. (Hey, his lifetime batting average (and OBP, and SLG) was .103, so he really couldn't hit.)

"I never cheated the Twins, the fans or my opponents."

True that, No. 22.

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