Monday, September 21, 2009

The inconsistent Nick Punto

Tragic number after Monday's play: Still 11. Twins won 7-0 in Chicago on Monday; the Tigers were off, open a series in Cleveland on Tuesday.


Another strong game from the resurgent Nick Punto: 2-for-2 with two walks, two steals, two runs scored, and even a feet-first slide (above).

Punto's playing everyday at second base these days, and for a good reason: He's the best middle infielder the Twins have right now.

Orlando Cabrera? His batting average for the season (.271) is 39 points higher than Punto's — and his on-base percentage is 25 points lower.

Alexi Casilla? Weak as Punto's batting average is this season, it's just 15 points lower than Casilla's slugging percentage.

Punto this month has raised his batting average 19 points, his on-base percentage 22 points, his slugging percentage 33 points.

One of my co-workers a few weeks ago said the Twins should just put Casilla in the lineup and see what he's got, because "you know what you're going to get from Punto."

The fact is, you DON'T know what you'll get from Punto. This is his fifth straight season of 300-plus at-bats with the Twins. His batting averages have been .239, .290., .210, .284, and now .232 (so far). He's had OBPs around .350 and OBPs under .300.

If the Twins knew what to expect from Punto, they'd have a better idea of what they need to do this offseason.

This I know: If they keep Punto on the roster, eventually he's going to find a spot in the lineup.

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