Giants’ Surprise with Joe Panik as 1st Round Pick

All the mock drafts I saw had the Giants taking a high school pitcher or outfielder with the 29th pick of the 2011 MLB Draft.  Shows what they know.

The Giants surprised a lot of people by taking St. John’s University SS Joe Panik with their 1st round pick.  MLB.com doesn’t even have him listed in their top 50 prospects.

Even so, it looks like a good pick, at least insofar as Panik’s bat is concerned. In three years as a starter at St. John’s, Panik has posted OPS numbers of .939, 1.098, and 1.151.  That’s just fine for a middle infielder.

Last year in the Cape Cod summer league, where top college players compete against each other using wooden bats, Panik hit .276, which was good enough for 12th best in a pitcher’s league.  He also posted an excellent .384 OBP and was a perfect 11 for 11 in stolen base attempts.

mlbdraftguide.com says Panik has good range and soft hands, but that his arm is average, so he may end up at 2B.   However, he played 3B, as well as SS, in the Cape Cod League, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Aside from surprising the pundits, Panik’s also something of a surprise pick in terms of what the Giants usually look for it position players.  The Giants like toolsy guys, as opposed to guys who really seem to know how to play the game.  Charlie Culberson, who the Giants took with the 51st pick of the 2007 Draft is a good example.  So too Fred Lewis (66th pick in 2002), Todd Linden (41st pick in 2001) and Jarrett Parker (74th last year).

However, toolsy guys are often free-swingers who run into a wall at some time between arriving at AA ball and the majors if they can’t learn how to lay pitches out of the strike zone and work the count.  A lot of them never do it.  I have my doubts about Charlie Culberson for that reason.

Panik, though, looks like a guy who knows how to get on base and doesn’t make a lot of extra outs.  Needless to say, we’ll see what happens once he hits professional baseball.

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3 Comments on “Giants’ Surprise with Joe Panik as 1st Round Pick”

  1. Shlepcar Says:

    Great to see a new post from you! I hope it is a sign for more to come.

  2. Burly Says:

    June 11, 2011: The Giants have already signed Joe Panik, according to mlbtraderumors.com. The amount of his contract hasn’t yet been announced, but slot is around $1.1 million.

    A signing this fast suggests the Giants may have talked with Panik before selecting him regarding his signing bonus demands. Mlbtraderumors.com also reports that Baseball America had rated Panik as only the 67th best prospect in the 2011 Draft, so the Giants may have drafted him high with the understanding that he’d sign right away and leave money over for the Giants to sign 49th overall pick RHP Kyle Crick, who will command a significant bonus to keep him from enrolling at Texas Christian University this Fall.

    • Burly Says:

      mlbtraderumors.com by way of Baseball America says that Panik signed for $1.116 million, which was the slot amount.


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