Wednesday, October 28, 2009

On Contests, Nick Punto and Oil Wrestling

I'm betting that title got your attention, huh? Let's count them down in order....

1. Over at we started a contest to try and predict the Twins Opening Day roster. You just click over from the main page, fill out the roster the way you think it will look on Opening Day, and win a prize if yours is the closest. So pull out your crystal ball and go at it.

2. I filled out mine and almost immediately wanted to change it. I basically decided that the Twins would re-sign four of their free agents and that would pretty much be the end of the offseason. And that still might be right.

But I wonder how soon Joe Crede and his agent Scott Boras are going to be looking to sign a deal. Probably not soon. And so if the Twins re-sign Orlando Cabrera and then take a gander at all those free agent second basemen, I wonder if they don't sign one of them and move Nick Punto to third base. It's defensible, and the more I think about it, the more I suspect that might happen.

3. Speaking of Punto, I happened to compare his on-base percentage to those shortstops in MLB who had at least 500 at-bats. His .337 OBP last year ranks 11th of 20, sandwiched between Miguel Tejada and Rafael Furcal. I still say he doesn't make a bad shortstop, especially if his defense returns to where it was before 2009.

4. And finally, I've been blogging this since 2002. I've spent plenty of hours wondering where it would lead. And now I know that all of it was a complete waste of time. Because yesterday I got this email from Judd Spicer, who writes for GameDay and is a 'sports blotter' on the City Pages site. And is apparently the most brilliant blogger of all time:

For immediate release--

This Friday, October 30th, City Pages sportswriter Judd Spicer will be participating in an evening of women's oil wrestling, battling for the universal pride of those who cover sports for a living. Spicer's aim is to "dispel the notion that sportswriters are tubby, hot-dog-eating, booze-hounds that write about sport instead of participating in the field of battle."

His opponent in the exhibition match: The tenacious Amanda Hansen, former contestant on ABC's "Big Brother" and current finalist for 93x's "Ultimate Xgirl" competition. To learn more about Amanda and her Xgirl quest, please visit and vote for her here. (SFW)

The Event: An Evening of Women's Oil Wrestling, sponsored in part by "Seconds Out Boxing Promotions" (Facebook Page)

Start Time:Friday, October 30, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.
Location:Robert Bar in Mounds View
Street:2400 County Road H2
Tickets: $15 for General Admission
Special Guest Judge: "Golden" Caleb Truax
Get your pre sale tickets at

Spicer vs. Hansen - Never Question The Power of the Pen

Writer, schmiter. Spicer is a blogger, and I gotta say, I'm ashamed my brainstorming never included oil wrestling with a fetching lass.
Or, at least not that I'm going to admit.


Pesky said...

I'd look out if I were that writer. Amanda looks pretty tough to me. I suspect a past history as a man.

Jack Ungerleider said...

Now I don't watch reality TV as a rule, but I do watch WCCO news. The last time I checked "Big Brother" was a CBS property not an ABC property.

I'll ask the same question I asked last year about 3B. Anybody think Cuddyer plays some during spring training to see if he's "comfortable"? If he is then you solve the 5 players for 4 spots issue and the 3B issue in one move.

markominne said...

John - The problem I see with the Punto-to-3B idea is that his throwing arm appears to have deteriorated over the past couple years to the point where I don't think you can play him there regularly. His lack of range limits him - or should - to a back-up role at SS. 2B is the only place in the infield he can play where he doesn't hurt the team defensively.

BeefMaster said...

markominne - Depending on your opinion of the stats, of course (I'm anticipating the inevitable complaint about UZR from TT), the numbers don't agree that Punto's range is better at second than at short, or for that matter, that it's limited at all. His career UZR/150 at each position:

2B: 2.9
SS: 16.3
3B: 19.8

While his SS results were down this year (which does lend some credence to your theory about his arm - UZR implicitly measures arm along with range, since it considers whether balls were turned into outs), he was still above-average at short according to UZR, and significantly better there than Orlando Cabrera. I'm not sure where to find other advanced metrics; I'd be curious to see if stuff like +/- agree with UZR here.

I like Jack's idea, too (and liked it last year), but it appears the whole "Cuddyer as a non-first-base infielder" ship has sailed, at least from Gardy's perspective.

Nick N. said...

Punto's lack of offense is too much of a liability at third, especially if another non-hitter is at SS in the form of Cabrera. The Twins would be better off signing a legit 2B, sticking Punto at SS and trying to find someone who can give them some offense from the 3B position. I'd prefer Crede/Punto on the left side to Punto/Cabrera, and it'd be a lot cheaper.

Matthew said...

I would definitely prefer Punto at SS as long as they can find 2B and 3B replacements - FA has plenty of options there. a FA signing period of polanco and DeRosa at reasonable signings would provide veteran leadership and stabilization of the infield and lineup for a couple years at what I am guessing is a reasonable price.

gil4 said...

"...on enormous multi-colored boards in Smith's office. The long wall of his office is a series of big boards..."

Could someone please introduce Bill Smith to the 21st century - hire someone to build that man a database.

DK said...

BeefMaster, you quoted UZR with regard to Punto, yet seem to be ignoring it in order to flog the deceased equine of Cuddyer-as-3B once again. His career UZR/150 at 3B is -11.5. He is not, and should never be, an option for third base.

BeefMaster said...

DK - Admittedly, I didn't bother to look up Cuddyer's fielding numbers at third; my thoughts were more from lineup construction and playing time perspectives.

That said, Cuddyer has a career -8.9 UZR in right field, and it's been in the negative teens the last two years. The improvement in outfield defense from starting Gomez in center every day and moving Span to right would almost certainly offset the gap between Cuddyer in RF and Cuddyer at 3B.

Harris and Buscher have comparable UZRs to Cuddyer at third base (Buscher slightly better, Harris slightly worse), although none of them has a particularly great sample size, so I wouldn't take any of those as gospel.

This is pretty much all academic anyway - as I mentioned before, I don't see any reason to think that Gardy is even considering moving Cuddyer back to the infield full-time.

TT said...

"I'm anticipating the inevitable complaint about UZR from TT"

Nah, I only complain when its used to support a view opposing mine. The same way people who use it often ignore it when it doesn't confirm theirs.