For the first time since 1988 the San Francisco Giants have selected a middle infielder in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft with the selection of Joe Panik. The shortstop out of St. John's University comes in as one of the top ranked shortstops in the draft, but were a bit down from 29th overall on most big boards.
The 6'1" 193 pounder Panik was a 2011 Golden Spikes Award finalist at St. John's with a .374 average, 10 home runs, and 53 RBI while slugging .621. He's got good range at short with a pretty good arm, and did I mention he bats left handed? Nice.
Some feel that Panik won't make it to the bigs as a shortstop but still see lots of promise in the field and at the plate. Here's a bit from his scouting report from mlbdraftguide.com:
Offensively, Panik's greatest assets are his patience and excellent strike zone judgement. He makes solid contact and hits to all fields. His bat has enough pop to envision 10-15 home runs at the next level. Panik has enough speed to pick up some steals as well.
In the field, Panik has good range and soft hands. His arm is average, which leads some to see his future at second base.Whether he remains at short or slides over to second, Panik has the ability to be a high on base guy and solid fielder at the next level.
Panik wasn't projected around 29th in many big boards, but the Giants seem to know what they're doing when it comes to draft picks. I think the Giants made a solid pick here gearing towards the future, and given the time, could turn Panik into a solid major league player while in the minors.
Here a look at a scouting video of his from MLB.com.
We'll be here for the next three days covering the 2011 MLB Draft. For more in-depth discussion about the Giants head to McCovey Chronicles. For more general minor league and draft discussion, check out Minor League Ball and Baseball Nation.