When the San Francisco Giants failed to make a move, and add an everyday second baseman prior to the trade deadline, the general consensus of the fans was that the cautious approach of the front office was likely to cost the Giants a playoff spot. A month, or so, into the experiment, shall I say, and they seem to be right. A lack of run support has punctured our pitching, ultimately leading to a five game losing-streak, and causing our once huge lead over the Dodgers to vanish. However, there may be light at the end of the tunnel, potential light, anyway.
Two nights ago, as the Giants slipped past the Philadelphia Phillies by one run, Panik was a key player. He went 2-3, with an RBI and the game winning run. Not bad for a rookie, eh? In his last eleven games Joe has hit .410, and in that span, has raised his batting average to a respectable .274, with a neat .331 on base percentage.
Overall, Panik is having a solid season. He has collated a 0.4 UZR with a RZR of .840, and an overall defensive WAR of 0.8. Offensively, he has struggled a little — but as mentioned above, he is starting to become more comfortable at the plate. The rookie credits his recent success to, “adjusting to major league ballparks.” On the year, he has a disappointing offensive WAR of -0.7, and a wRAA of -1.3 but a wRC+ of 94, which is okay, I guess.
However, as promised, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The light lies in his August splits: Panik owns a batting average of .372, an OPS of .878, and a BABIP of .444, not bad, whatsoever. His wRAA sits at 2.7, and his wRC+ is an excellent 157. Another admirable thing about Panik, is his mentality. From his very first AB in Arizona against the Diamondbacks, he has fought hard and battled every single time. He seldom chases outside pitches, and fouls off tough pitches to stay alive. He uses the whole field, and hits the ball where it’s pitched. Not a common skillset for a rookie. I kind of like this guy – he’s actually pretty good. Perhaps my greed and desire for the Giants to spend some big money has clouded my judgement. Yeah, it probably has.
All in all, the Giants front office may just have been right not to pursue a new second baseman. While Panik’s recent successes don’t quite compensate for Sabean’s inability to strengthen the roster, they do give us something to be happy about – which we haven’t been for some time. Allow Panik’s minor revival to fuel your optimism. Maybe we can make the postseason, after all. Maybe Joe Panik can be our everyday second baseman, after all.