Chris Nunn Resigned by St. Paul Saints
FRANKLIN, WI (August 18, 2020) – He was a big reason the St. Paul Saints made the playoffs and reached the Championship Series in 2018. Now he’s trying to help the Saints get back to that position for the third straight season. Left-handed pitcher Chris Nunn, who spent last season at Double-A and Triple-A in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, was signed on Saturday.
After spending the second half of 2018 with the Saints, Nunn became somewhat of an internet sensation. He became one of the first pitchers to use Rob Friedman, better known as Pitching Ninja on Twitter (at the time 100,000 followers now over 230,000), to push out his bullpen session via his FlatGround twitter account (roughly 20,000 followers at the time, now over 42,000). During Nunn’s bullpen session, he hit 99 mph twice. His agent, Nello Gambino, tweeted the video to @PitchingNinja and @FlatgroundApp. The FlatGround account retweeted the impressive video and it was seen by more than 370,000 people, including many in the baseball industry.
Nunn was eventually signed by the Texas Rangers organization in January of 2019. Released just after spring training, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed him on April 17, 2019. The 29-year-old Nunn pitched 14 games at Double-A Tulsa and 24 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City and went 2-2 with a 5.33 ERA in 38 games. In 50.2 innings pitched he walked 24 and struck out 66 while opponents hit .294 against him. He spent all, but one game at Tulsa from May 4-June 23. He was spectacular going 2-1 with a 1.33 ERA in 14 games. In 20.1 innings pitched he allowed just three runs, with two of them coming on solo home runs, while walking eight and striking out 27 while opponents hit .205 against him. Nunn was promoted to Oklahoma City on June 28 and went 0-1 with an 8.01 ERA in 24 games. In 30.1 innings pitched he walked 16 and struck out 39 while opponents hit .344 against him. Despite the high ERA and opponents batting average, he fanned at least one batter in his first 16 relief appearances (25 K’s/19 innings pitched) from June 28-August 5. He struck out at least one batter in 22 of 24 relief appearances with Oklahoma City.
In 2018, Nunn signed with the Saints on July 2, after being released by the Houston Astros organization. With the Saints he went 7-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 11 starts. In 59.0 innings he walked 13 and struck out 49 while opponents hit .260 against him. He allowed two runs or less in seven of 10 starts (one start was a rain shortened 1.0 inning performance). Nunn got the ball in Game 1 of the North Division Championship Series against the Gary SouthShore RailCats and twirled a gem going 8.0 shutout innings allowing three hits while walking two and striking out six. Overall, in his three playoff starts he was 1-1 with a 4.41 ERA. In 16.1 innings he walked six and struck out 13.
Nunn began that season pitching in the Houston Astros organization, after they selected him in the Class AAA phase of the Rule 5 draft on December 14, 2017, and pitched for Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Fresno. Between the two levels he was 3-0 with a 4.94 ERA in 15 games. In 27.1 innings pitched he walked 14 and struck out 32 while opponents hit .272 against him.
Nunn was a 24th round draft pick in the First Year Player Draft by the San Diego Padres in 2012 out of Lipscomb. After one game in the Arizona League, he was promoted to Low-A Eugene where he was nearly unscored upon. He finished 3-0 with a 0.57 ERA and three saves in 24 relief appearances. In 31.1 innings pitched he walked 19 and struck out 45 while opponents hit a measly .159 against him. Nunn was a Northwest League Post-Season All-Star. He did not allow a run in his first 18 appearances, spanning 24.2 innings pitched. His most impressive relief appearance came on July 16 when he pitched 2.0 perfect innings and struck out all six batters he faced against Vancouver. He also struck out at least one hitter in 10 consecutive relief appearances from July 26-August 21.
In 2013 Nunn spent the entire season with the Single-A Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League. He was once again impressive going 8-2 with a 2.77 ERA and nine saves in 55 relief appearances. In 65.0 innings he walked 30 and struck out 66 while opponents hit .259 against him. He finished first in the league in appearances and second in holds (10). He recorded a win or save in 14 consecutive decisions from April 25-July 18 and went 11 consecutive appearances (12.2 IP) without allowing a run from June 21-July 25.
Nunn once again moved up the ladder of the Padres system spending all of 2014 at High-A Lake Elsinore going 4-2 with a 4.30 ERA in 49 games in an offensive dominated league. In 58.2 innings pitched he walked 25 and struck out a robust 76 while opponents hit .234 against him. Nunn finished tied for third in holds (11) and fifth in highest strikeout/9 IP (11.66). He had two double-digit streaks of consecutive games with striking out at least one batter, going the final 12 games from July 27-September 1 and 15-straight from May 19-July 3.
In 2015 Nunn began the season at Double-A San Antonio before settling into High-A Lake Elsinore after seven games. Between the two stops he was 4-0 with a 7.03 ERA.
Nunn was released by the Padres on March 26, 2016 and he sat out baseball, instead focusing on his pursuit of his Masters Degree in business at Lipscomb. He also joined The Block Agency, a talent agency in Nashville that represents the “region’s best models, actors, and hosts.” He did some photo shoots and was featured in a few music videos.
After a year-and-a-half off from baseball Nunn signed with the Independent Evansville Otters in the Frontier League in 2017. He lasted one game with them because he proved he was back to form. Nunn walked the first two hitters he faced then struck out seven in a row. His 5.0 strong innings made the Chicago Cubs take notice and he had his contract purchased by them on August 18 and pitched for Double-A Tennessee. He went 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA in four starts.
In order to make room for Nunn, the Saints placed pitcher Matt Quintana on the inactive list.
The Saints roster stands at the league maximum 23, 12 pitchers and 11 position players.
By Sean Aronson, St. Paul Saints