Posted at 5:05 PM on August 30, 2007
by Steve Rudolph
He’s an excellent fielder, he’s probably a nice guy and great humanitarian, and it’s not his fault that the manager writes his name on the lineup card everyday. With that out of the way, I can’t help but ask: Have the Twins ever had an everyday player contribute less offensively than Nick Punto has this season?
Punto went 0-4 last night in Cleveland dropping his average to .196 and is now flirting with the Mendoza Line, a mark of futility aptly named after another weak-hitting Twins infielder.
Mendoza batted .188 in 16 games with the Twins during the 1970 season. Punto’s accomplishments (or lack thereof) have far surpassed Mendoza as he’s managed to post an average below .200 despite getting 398 at bats in 124 games!
(It’s worth noting that had Mendoza batted once more and recorded a hit, his average would have jumped to .235.)
If you look at the averages of every Major League hitter, you’ll see there are no other hitters with more than 200 at bats that have hit under 200. (Could Punto be the game’s first 200/200 player?)
There are a couple of regulars that have about the same amount of at bats as Punto with averages in the low .200s. However, both of those players have contributed far more offensively to their teams than the Twins infielder.
In 427 at bats for the Mariners Richie Sexton has his just .208. But when he has hit the ball, he’s driven in runs. Sexson has tallied 21 home runs and 63 RBI. Similarly, Juan Uribe has played in 121 games for the White Sox. Despite only batting .218 in 408 at bats, Uribe has notched 15 HRs and 52 RBI.
Nick Punto has hit one home run, driven in 22 runs, and failed to execute a sacrifice bunt more times than I can remember. If anyone can think of a player (Twins or otherwise) that has been given so many at bats and produced so little, I’d love to hear it. I can’t find any in my research.