Monday, March 10, 2008

Nick Punto | 30-years-old | Utility | -6 WSAB (2007)

2007: .210/.288/.271 | 1 HR | 11% bb%/17% k%

  • 15% LD% | 51% GB% | 34% FB%

  • 14.6% : Nick Punto's line drive rate was the third lowest in the American League among qualified batters (ahead of him was 2/3rds of the 2008 Los Angeles Angels outfield, Torii Hunter and Gary Matthews Jr). This was a significant decrease from his 2006 line drive rate of 24%.

  • .255 : Nick Punto's batting average of balls in play was the lowest in the American League.

  • .271 : slugging percentage. Lowest among qualified American League batters.

  • 23% : of Nick Punto's 99 hits went for extra bases, though 55% of his hits from the right side of the plate went for extra bases while only 20% of his hits left-handed went for extra bases.

  • .175/.243/.240 : batting line in 172 plate appearances as a right-handed batter against left-handed pitching in 2007.

  • .127/.207/.155 : batting line in his 82 plate appearances in August.

  • 4.0 : Number of pitches per at-bat.

  • 0 - 1 : Nick Punto's best count. He hit .308/.308/.404 with one strike and no balls. Very meaningless statistic but interesting nonetheless.

  • .205 : batting average against Cleveland's CC Sabathia (2 for 15), Paul Byrd (2 for 10) and Fausto Carmona (3 for 9).

Nick Punto GB/FB/LD : Season Stats Graph

Why he'll improve in 2008: As the axiom goes, went you hit bottom there is no where else to go but up. And the bottom of the league was right where Nick Punto's batting average on balls in plays was. Some will tell you that BABIP is luck, which if true, Nick Punto's season could have been one of the unluckiest of them all. By isolating both Punto's contact type and BABIP you can see how the production declined. 85% of the time he was putting the ball into play as a pop-up or groundball, two methods that have very good odds of being converted in to outs. His low line drive rate in addition to his high groundball and fly ball rates decreased his average on batted balls (the low .255). Some will suggest that 2006 in which he finished batting .290/.352/.373 was the deviant to his true production. Punto's 2007 season, however, witnessed a significant regression from the type of contact he was making 2004 through 2006. In 2004, Punto hit line drives in over 30% of the balls in play. The following season he hit line drives 21% of the time and improved his contact in 2006 by hitting line drives 24% of the time. In those seasons, his batting average on balls in play was around or above .300. When his line drive rate plummeted to 15%, so did his BABIP and consequently his batting average followed. Punto's walk rate and strikeout rate in 2007 were both slightly above the league average but consistant with the output he had in his two previous seasons. The biggest change was the contact. There is nothing to suggest that Nick Punto's swing will create more line drives in 2008 but it should improve considering the previous trajectory of his career.