Nick Punto

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Nick Punto
Nick Punto on July 10, 2013.jpg
Punto with the Los Angeles Dodgers
Oakland Athletics – No. 1
Infielder
Born: (1977-11-08) November 8, 1977 (age 36)
San Diego, California
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
MLB debut
September 9, 2001 for the Philadelphia Phillies
Career statistics
(through 2013 season)
Batting average .248
Home runs 18
Runs batted in 249
Stolen bases 101
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Nicholas Paul Punto (born November 8, 1977) is an American professional baseball utility player for the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball. He has played second base, third base and shortstop with several teams.

Personal[edit]

Punto is a 1996 graduate of Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo, California. After high school, he attended Saddleback College, also in Mission Viejo. His father, Lou, was drafted by the Boston Red Sox. Nick and his wife, Natalie, have two children Nicole Jayne born on May 30, 2008 and a son, Nash.

Career[edit]

Philadelphia Phillies[edit]

Punto was drafted in the 21st round of the 1998 MLB Draft and made his major league debut with the Philadelphia Phillies on September 9, 2001. He singled to right field off Bob Scanlan of the Montreal Expos as a pinch hitter in the 8th inning. He had 2 hits in 5 at-bats in just 4 games with the Phillies that season. In 2002 with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, he played in 115 games and hit .271, earning a selection as an International League All-Star.

In 3 years with the Phillies he played in a total of 77 games and hit .223. His first, and only, home run with the Phillies was hit off Steve Trachsel of the New York Mets on July 10, 2003.

Minnesota Twins[edit]

After playing in a career-high 64 major-league games in 2003, he was acquired by the Minnesota Twins in the 2004 offseason (along with Carlos Silva) for Eric Milton. He started the season with the team, but he was injured twice and spent the majority of his time in 2004 on the disabled list. In 2005, he competed for the starting job at second base, which he eventually won, and in 2006 became the starting third baseman.

Punto was one of four Twins players nicknamed "The Piranhas" by White Sox manager, Ozzie Guillén.[1] The other Piranhas were Jason Tyner, Jason Bartlett, and Luis Castillo.

In 2005 Nick Punto batted .239, with a career high 4 home runs, and 26 runs batted in over the duration of 112 games.

Punto had his best full season in Minnesota during the 2006 season when he batted .290 with 45 runs batted in, and posted 17 stolen bases in 135 games.

Punto with the Minnesota Twins in 2007

In 2007, Punto experienced his statistically worst full season with Minnesota, batting .210 with 25 runs batted in 150 games. He posted the lowest slugging percentage (.271) of any major league player with at least 200 at-bats in a single season. This was the lowest slugging percentage by a player with over 400 at-bats since José Lind recorded a .269 slugging percentage for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992. Punto also posted a −27.1 VORP in 2007, 8.5 runs worse than the second-worst position player in baseball, White Sox infielder Andy González. However, he has always played excellent defense and believed in his defensive abilities which the Twins are so keen on. On May 27 during an MPR broadcast Punto said, "I take too much pride in my defense to ever let (offensive struggles) affect me or affect my team. The one thing I can control is how I play defense."

After being injured most of the first half of the 2008 season, Punto was activated from the DL on June 25, 2008 and finished the season batting .284 with 28 runs batted in.[2] Punto spent most of the 2008 season as the Twins' primary shortstop.[3]

Punto signed a new two-year deal with the Twins worth $8.5 million following the 2008 season, with a club option for 2011 worth $5 million.[4]

Punto represented Team Italy in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

After struggling as the Twins regular shortstop in 2009, Punto began losing time in the lineup to fellow Twin Brendan Harris. After returning from the disabled list, Punto was re-inserted into the regular lineup at second base, following the struggles of infielders Alexi Casilla and Matt Tolbert. He finished the season batting .228 with 38 RBI over 440 plate appearances.

Punto began the 2010 season as the Twins' starting third baseman, but ended up on the disabled list before the end of April with a strained groin muscle. Punto returned to the lineup in May, playing at third base, shortstop, and second base as injuries cropped up among other players. In July, he was essentially replaced as the starter at third base by Danny Valencia, but he continued to play regularly due to injuries to Orlando Hudson and J.J. Hardy.

On October 29, the Twins declined Punto's $5 million team option, making him a free agent. In 7 years with the Twins, Punto played in 747 games with a .248 batting average.

St. Louis Cardinals[edit]

Punto during his tenure with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011

On January 21, 2011 Punto signed a one-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals worth $700,000.[5] He played in 63 games with the Cardinals, as a utility player, and hit .278. Punto had 3 hits in 14 at-bats in the 2011 World Series.

Boston Red Sox[edit]

On December 14, 2011, Punto agreed to a 2-year contract with the Boston Red Sox worth $3 million. In 65 games with the Red Sox in 2012, he hit .200 while starting games at second base, third base and shortstop. He also appeared in five games at first base.

Los Angeles Dodgers[edit]

On August 25, 2012 he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers (along with Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez and $11 million in cash) for James Loney, Iván DeJesús, Jr., Allen Webster and two players to be named later (Jerry Sands and Rubby De La Rosa).[6] He appeared in 22 games with the Dodgers and hit .286.

Punto represented Italy in the 2013 World Baseball Classic in March 2013.

In the 2013 season, Punto saw extensive time at short stop due to injuries to Hanley Ramírez. He appeared in 116 games, his most since 2009, and hit .255 with 2 HR, 21 RBI and 34 runs.

On September 16, 2013, Punto led off a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks with a single to center field off of Trevor Cahill. Despite the fact that the ball traveled into the outfield, Punto made a headfirst slide into first base anyway.

Oakland Athletics[edit]

On November 13, 2013, Punto agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract with the Oakland Athletics, that included a vesting option for 2015.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Buster Olney (April 29, 2014). "Nick Punto and the Piranhas". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on April 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Twins activate INF Punto from DL". International Herald Tribune. March 29, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2011. [dead link]
  3. ^ Kelly Thesier. "Punto's return puts infield back on track". Minnesota Twins. Archived from the original on July 14, 2008. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Twins agree to terms with Nick Punto on two-year contract" (Press release). Minnesota Twins. August 26, 2011. Archived from the original on December 18, 2008. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  5. ^ Matthew Leach (January 21, 2011). "Cards pick Punto to help with infield defense". MLB.com. Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2011. 
  6. ^ Axisa, Mike (August 25, 2012). "Red Sox, Dodgers Complete Nine-Player Blockbuster". Archived from the original on August 26, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2012. 
  7. ^ Slusser, Susan (November 13, 2013). "A’s sign veteran utility player Nick Punto". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on November 14, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 

External links[edit]