Nunn No Longer a Saint, Has Contract Purchased by Texas Rangers Organization
ST. PAUL, MN - On July 2, 2018 the St. Paul Saints sat at a pedestrian 22-20, yet just 0.5 game out of first place. On that day manager George Tsamis overhauled his roster with four signings, one of them was hard throwing lefty Chris Nunn. The man who would start both Game 1's of the playoffs for the Saints caught the eye of many, including the Texas Rangers organization who purchased his contract on Monday. He is the 121st different Saints player to have his contract purchased.
The 28-year-old Nunn was magnificent over the final two months of the season going 7-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 11 starts. In 59.0 innings pitched he walked just 13 and fanned 49 while opponents hit .260 against him. He allowed one earned run or less in six of 11 starts and two earned runs or less nine times. In addition, he hurled 6.0 innings or more in six of 11 starts. He had four outings in which he tossed 6.0 or more innings and allowed one run or less. He fanned an impressive 7.5/9 IP and walked just 2.0/9 IP. His best regular season performance came on August 24 at Chicago when he went 7.0 innings allowing one run on four hits.
Nunn stepped up his game in the playoffs and had the longest start of his career in Game 1 of the North Division Series against the Gary SouthShore RailCats at CHS Field. He hurled a career high 8.0 innings, without allowing a run on just three hits, and fanned six in a 4-0 victory. The Saints would win the Series three-games-to-one. Despite struggling in Game 1 of the American Association Championship Series, Nunn came back on three days rest to start Game 4. He was dominant in the first 5.0 innings before tiring in the sixth and departing after allowing three runs on just three hits in 5.1 innings pitched. The Saints would lose the series in four games.
Nunn was pitching in the Houston Astros organization prior to joining the Saints, 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 games 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. 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.
Nunn becomes the 131st contract purchased from the Saints, and 121st different player, including eight who had their contract sold twice and Caleb Thielbar who became the first player to have his contract purchased three times. Of the 131 contracts sold, eight were sold to international teams and a total of 19 have made it to the ultimate level of baseball following their time with the Saints (Julio DePaula, who played for the Saints in 2011, made it to the Major Leagues in 2014, never pitched in a game, but does not show up on the list below because his contract wasn't purchased directly from the Saints). Nunn becomes the third player from the 2018 team to have his contract purchased joining Josh Allen, who had his contract purchased by the New York Mets in June, and catcher Justin O'Conner who had his contract purchased on January 22.
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