Player Profile

Joe Panik

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BY MIKE CAROZZA

Joe Panik is a special profile for me because he is an old teammate of mine.  When I was a senior in high school, Joe was a 13 year old who I had never seen play.  Before tryouts that year I  was told that, in 8th grade, Joe was a lock for our high school varsity team (in Hopewell Junction, NY).  Think about that, for me, a 17 year old punk to be told that a 13 year old Little Leaguer could hang with us?  It sounded ridiculous, but since his brother Paul was already on the team and a great player in his own right, I reserved judgment.  Joey showed up to tryouts at about 5’6 120 pounds.  He looked like one of the kids I had to watch as a camp counselor.  But I found out that I had to watch Joey for a very different reason.  Because, at 13 years old, he had the purest swing I’d ever seen.

Panik and that short, perfectly balanced swing went All-County that year.   After dominating at John Jay HS, he was an All-American Shortstop at St. John’s.  After dominating college, he got drafted in the first round by the Giants in 2011.  Despite his track record, critics called Joe a “reach,” and “not a first round talent.”

Joe forgot to read what the “experts” wrote about him.  He signed immediately and won the MVP of the rookie Northwest League in his first campaign as a pro.  In 2014, before his call-up, he was leading the Pacific Coast League in hits.  The “reach” then joined the big club and hit .325 (9th in the NL, 41 points better than the next 2nd baseman) in the second half of 2014 and played a key part in turning the Giants season around. He also had a little something to do with that World Series, too.

That batting average is not a “limited sample size” type of deal.  Panik has the type of swing and approach that wins batting titles.  If you are a left-handed hitter, and you want to see what .300 looks like, watch Joe Panik.  He does everything right.

(for some reason this video shows the first hit twice)