Posted at 8:58 PM on September 4, 2007
by Steve Rudolph
I was having a little fun when I referred to Nick Punto becoming the game’s first 200/.200 player (more than 200 at bats and a sub-.200 average). As a reader pointed out, there have been about 500 players have that accomplished that feat.
Nick Punto, who had a couple hits over the weekend to lift his average to .198 entering Tuesday's game, is not having the worst season ever by a regular. But it could be among the five worst in modern times for a player who qualified for the batting title. A friend of mine ran the numbers that show it.
Lowest Batting Average (1957-2007)
(Min. 3.1 PA/Team Game)
Considering the company he’s keeping, why is Punto in the starting lineup every night? He should be a late-inning defensive replacement. These numbers show that about any other major leaguer would produce more at the plate.
The problem with the whole NIck Punto story is that it ignores the fact that the media and commentators failed to notice -- or at least acknowledge -- that the year Nick Punto had last year was anything but a fluke. It waas certainly not the norm.
So when Nick Punto had a more typical year for Nick Punto, it was billed as a something off kilter.
First, everyone looks at batting average. Batting average, as Bill James has pointed out, is not the best measure of hitting -- on base percentage is.
Those are his last 5 seaons and three of those are pretty much the same -- lousy.
Expecting Nick Punto to be anybody other than Nick Punto is our fault, not Nick Punto's.
Big points, by the way, for digging out Tom Tresh's name.