Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Punto may be the best 3rd baseman in the AL

An argument can be made that Punto is the best third baseman in the league so far. There are many good candidates and Punto is definitely in the top 5 in the AL so far this year.

Nick doesn’t have the power numbers of other third baseman but he is still having a great year with the bat .320/.399/.423. He has 0 homeruns and only 26 RBIs which is last among the top 15 AL 3rd baseman. But he is first in the league in the single most important offensive stat, OBP. He leads all third baseman in OBP. Meaning he makes less outs per plate appearance than any other third baseman. Giving the Twins a better chance to score because there are more runners on base because of Punto and because he is making less outs, rallies will continue longer because of Nick.

He also leads the league in Runs Created per 27 outs. He is ahead of Glaus and Arod who are also 2 of the better third baseman in the league. They have many more homeruns than Punto but not as high of an OBP.

He is criticized for not hitting homeruns because he plays third base. Third base is historically considered a position for sluggers. But it really should be just a position for offense over defense, unlike second and short where defense is more important than offense.

It shouldn’t matter where he plays as long as he is creating runs. Do you really want a slugging third baseman like Inge who has 20 homeruns but because of his low OBP he is creating 2 runs less per 27 outs than Punto. Do you really want a slugger at third just because it is traditional?

If you do then you probably think Colon deserved the Cy Young last year and you believe that Beckett deserves it so far this year.

It doesn’t matter how you create runs as long as you do in fact create them. Punto is doing a great job of creating runs, better than anyone in the AL.

His numbers this year are not far off of an average season for Boggs. I believe Boggs was a pretty good third baseman. An average season for Boggs is .328/.415/.443. Punto’s numbers this year are pretty close to Boggs’ 3rd season of .325/.407/.416. Not bad for Punto.


At 1:22 PM, Blogger Twins Territory said...

I like that argument, although it depends on how you look at it. If think the best thirdbasemen mus have power than it would be A-Rod or Eric Chavez. There are a lot of good thirdbasemen out there and it would be hard to say that Punto isn't up there because he definetley has a lot of hussel and he has had a pretty good glove so far.

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Todd said...

I look at it by who is the best offensive player. Homeruns are obvious the easiest way to score. It would be great if he hit homeruns. But he does other things well to generate runs like walk a lot.

All I am really sying is that an argument could be made that he is the best 3b in the AL. I don't necessarily believe that though.

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