BLUF: Classic utility profile with a very small window to make himself an everyday player.
The Player: Joe Panik (INF, San Francisco Giants) – A first round pick out of St. John’s in 2011, Panik hit .341 in short-season ball after signing quickly that summer. The Giants pushed him aggressively in 2012, assigning him straight to the High-A California League where he finished with a .297/.368/.402 line with 27 doubles, seven home runs and ten stolen bases.
Basis of Report: Compilation –Personal Observation (College 2011 and 2010), Industry Contacts
Body (6-1, 190): Average frame with solid athleticism. Decent strength in his body. Not physically explosive but an undersized, up-the-middle weakling either.
Hit: Best tool in the profile. Excellent contact ability. Simple, quiet swing with a consistent load and path to the strike zone. Adjusts to a variety of pitches and has very good bat-to-ball ability. Uses the whole field well. Willing to sacrifice himself based on situations. Potential plus hitter. Must prove himself against high-end velocity, demonstrating that he can drive the ball to the outfield and avoid becoming a simple slap hitter. Could hit .280+ and fit nicely in the two spot. Grade – 50/60
Power: Not part of his game. Rarely drives the ball with superior authority and most extra-base hits are modest gappers. Could pick up 15-20 doubles and a handful of home runs at his peak. Lacks physical projection to suggest power will develop down the line. Likely sub-.400 slugger. Grade (raw power) – 20/20
Arm: Average and plays okay on the left side of the infield. Consistent throwing mechanics, even on the run. Quick transfer and unloads the ball quickly with plus accuracy. Overall solid arm. Grade – 50/50
Fielding: Solid, fundamental defender. No flash in the game but makes the routine plays look routine. Below-average to fringe-average range to both sides. Shows a little better range in the air. Good footwork and average hands. Nothing spectacular but can make the necessary minimum plays at shortstop. May profile better at second base. Value may be maximized by moving him around defensively. Grade – 50/50
Speed: Average times home to first. Gets out of the box well but lacks significant speed once underway. Good instincts on the bases, getting good jumps and good reads on when to take an extra base. Potential for 10-12 steals a year. Grade – 50/50
Summation: Low ceiling, high floor player. Several tools in the fringe-average to solid-average range. Highly instinctual player with good baseball IQ and a grinder approach. Does everything the “right way.” Has contact ability and a good approach but lacks secondary offensive skills to give him considerable value at the plate. Ceiling is as a batting-average driven number two hitter but he could end up at the bottom of the order. Will have to prove he can drive the ball, even for hard singles to avoid having pitchers attack him relentlessly. Has a fringy profile at shortstop and may be better suited for second base or utility profile on defense. A move to second base only would require him to hit for a very high average. Best profile is in utility role with ability to play multiple infield positions and hit a little bit.
Relative Risk: Low. High floor player that will move very quickly and has a likely big-league future.
Future: Little to no projection remaining in the player. Good but not flashy in just about every facet of the game. Will be pushed to Double-A in 2013 and could be ready for some bench work in 2014 and may fit in nicely at second base alongside Brandon Crawford down the line.