#8. Joe Panik – 2B, 22 yo, AA: Panik was the Giants’ first round pick (29th overall) in 2011. He was a shortstop at St. Johns, and after playing the position at Salem-Keizer and San Jose, he’s been moved to second base this year at AA Richmond. Even when he was drafted, most scouts felt Panik would eventually end up at second. His calling was his bat, not his defense. During his time as a professional, Panik has showed his above average abilities to make contact, but he hasn’t been able to hit for much power. In 289 career games, he has 16 HR and only a .401 slugging percentage. Those numbers don’t seem like they’re going to improve much.
This season, Panik’s batting average has dipped significantly. He’s currently hitting .250 through 90 games, with only 3 HR. However, he’s still shown the ability to walk more than he strikes out (43:41), which he’s done at every stop in the organization. It’s his ability to handle the bat that keeps him in the system’s top 10. It really is rare these days to see a hitter who doesn’t strike out (look at Marco Scutaro), but Panik needs some hits to start falling his way these last couple months if he wants to continue his path toward the big leagues. If he can regain his .300 hitting form, he’s still probably the Giants’ second-baseman of the future… If he can’t, he’s probably looking at a bench role. He’s still young, and Scutaro is locked up for two more years, so there’s no rush on Panik at this point.