The legend of Joe Panik continues, breaks record for hits in first postseason games


The legend of rookie second baseman, turned San Francisco Giants’ hero and saviour, Joe Panik has continued yet more. With three hits in the wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates and another two – including a leadoff triple and eventual run – against the Washington Nationals last night, Panik becomes the first Giants player in history to record five hits in his first two postseason games. It looks like the Giants have another Mr October among them.

Last night he put on a show. Having won a challenge, which in the end ruled Travis Ishikawa safe at second, and a passed ball, the Giants had runners at first and second in a tie-ball-game, with Panik at the dish. Guess what? He came through with an RBI single. Later in the game, he executed a tidy hit and run — advancing Gregor Blanco to second — and then the best of all. A leadoff triple to left-centre-field and consequently scoring on an infield single from Buster Posey.

Not only has Panik been breaking records, he has also been winning over the hearts of Giants fans, and probably even non-Giants-alike. His sheer ability to slow the game down, let nothing get to him, and most importantly, control his bat, put the ball in play and hit from line-to-line have made him a fan favourite. His team-mates love him, too.

After the game, Brandon Belt said “I wonder if he’s human sometimes,” the first baseman said. “I think he is, but I don’t know. I wish I was doing that at 23.” In terms of the double play that Panik started and that got Jake Peavy pumped, Peavy said:  “That was really big,” Peavy said. “Anytime somebody gets on in the postseason, that’s a rally. Me and Craw had just talked about the positioning of what we were going to do there. I was really excited we were able to execute. What a great play by both of those guys.”

October is a brilliant time for any player to make a name for themselves, and the twenty-three-year-old infielder is doing exactly that. Since his call-up, in only just under eighty games, Panik has collated a marvellous fWAR of 1.6 and a wRC+ of 107, both of which rank among the leaders in rookies. An offensive WAR of 4.6, and a defensive WAR of 1.9, as well as a batting average of .305, further prove his ability. With a strong start to the postseason thus far, look for Joe Panik to lead the Giants into the NLCS.