Nick Punto Goes To Oakland And No One Cares… Or Should They
Billy, Billy, Billy, you slyest of dogs, you smuggler of young girl`s hearts, you captain of our ship. Billy Beane, the GM of the Oakland A`s has once again gone incognito, and purchased another piece of an intricate plan he and the Oaktown boys are trying to piece together. No, Billy doesn’t have an overweight assistant that forces him to watch underground minor league footage and is socially awkward, which was inaccurately portrayed by the sometimes fat Jonas Hill. In fact I don’t think the film Moneyball gives Billy enough credit, the man is slowly and softly filling pieces in for another post-season run, and this time hopefully it doesn’t end with Verlander smiling while giving awkward high fives and we know for damn sure we won’t see Jim Leyland put together a moonwalk dance. (we do love yah Jim, good luck you moustache riding pirate).
If you are reading this, you probably haven`t heard, or you have briefly heard, that Nick “the musketeer” Punto is leaving the big city for the swamp of Oakland. Nick is a Billy Beane special. He is a switch hitter that plays defense everywhere inside the diamond except first and catcher. Nick is well aware of the A`s plan to move him around, he made a couple of comments about the signing today.
[quote]“They plan on moving me around the infield, I’m excited about it, I’m excited about the team. . . I’ve been watching them for a few years, they play hard-nosed baseball, they’re young and competitive. I’m thrilled about this.”[/quote]
The “mad scientist” Bob Melvin and Brad Pitt “Billy “the pinto” Beane are licking their chops at the matchup possibilities Nicky provides, however, don`t think that this opens up a Jed Lowrie to the Cardinals trade. David Forst, the real-life assistant manager, not played by Jonas Hill and very much in shape, made this comment today.[quote]“This has nothing to do with Jed. Jed is our starting shortstop.”[/quote] So all you A`s conspiracy theorists just put down the ouija board and come back to reality; shortstop and third base are one man crews. I’m sure Punto could fill in for the youngins when they need a breather, but this comes down to one thing and only one thing, platoon ball aka the new Money-ball.
Since Nick is not playing first base and wont be taking over for shortstop Jed Lowrie we need to look at what the A`s are planning to do with that second base situation. We have Eric “the nerd” Sogard and the recently required Callaspo. My gut feeling is that the A`s aren’t planning on moving Sogard, and I will be honest with you, it actually has nothing to do with my gut. The A’s specialize in lineup card platoons, not necessarily pinch hitters and runners. The equation is pretty strict and even the hottest bats are put on ice due to platoons. It’s a right hand/left hand hitting platoon and the pitcher of the day decides who gets to play (rhyme was super unintentional). So let`s take a looksies under the hood and view the split stats of Sogard, Callaspo, and Punto’s, keep in mind the OBP is still a big factor in Oakland. No bunting and absolutely minimal strikeouts.
Eric Sogard– 5`10, 190 pounds, legally blind in both eyes, enjoys a great bean dip and Subway
2013 AVG OBP SLG
Lefty- .230 .329 .311
Righty: .274 .320 .375
Defense is average and is still developing. Chili Davis, the A`s batting coach, takes ice cold showers after giving interviews about Eric`s batting mechanics, in which he loves. There have also been reports that Chili brings candles to team dinners and tries to persuade Eric to dine with him, with little to no success. I don’t see Eric going anywhere and will be their right-handed pitching batter. Last year he saw 307 ABs against righties compared to a mere 61 ABs vs lefties. This trend will continue. Moving on.
Alberto Callaspo 5`9, 225 pounds, speaks Spanglish, currently wanted in Venezuela for illegal building permits.
2013 AVG OBP SLG
Lefty .268 .333 .430
Righty .253 .333 .339
Better power righty, and Callaspo also saw alot of bats against right handed pitchers. Albert is a switch hitter and you can see that there isn’t much difference between his left/right stats. He plays all positions in the infield and was bounced around after the Angels traded him. You could see Alberto moved or as a fill in guy for tired players
Nick Punto 5’9, 195 pounds, doesn’t do his Hispanic heritage justice in pictures, secretly enjoys any movie with Matthew Mcconaughey falling in love.
2013 AVG OBP SLG
Lefty .309 .362 .723
Righty .228 .313 .310
Nick is also a switch hitter, however, he bats much better against lefties and I see him being the 2B platoon opposite Eric Sogard. He plays defense everywhere in the infield is very good at all positions. Nick brings good experience and having lived through the 80’s gives him unique character, Josh Reddick will love him. He played his college ball at Saddleback and loved every second of it. Nick is going to get the lefties, and he is going to be around for a couple of years
The big question is, do the A`s move Callaspo? My heart tells me yes, while my brain tells me no. Just when you think you have Billy Beane figured out, he does something that baffles you (please review the outfield situation last season). I think that Billy is going to dangle Callaspo out for those looking for a solid infielder, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alberto stay. I doubt this is the last we see of Billy, stay tuned for more twists and turns.