After a slow start to the 2017 season, Joe Panik is finally proving why he belongs in the San Francisco Giants lineup long term.
Everyone knew this was a very important year for Joe Panik. After two very good years to start his career, 2016 was a bit disappointing for Panik.
Last year he hit just .239 in 464 at-bats, which were the most at-bats in his career. That was after hitting .302 in 2014 and .312 during an All-Star season in 2015.
This was going to be the deciding year for Panik, and things didn’t get out to a great start.
He peaked at .320 on April 28, but struggled mightily over the next month and a half dropping his average to .255. He sat out the next four games, but after that he started to put things back together.
By the end June he had his average back up to a respectable .279.
Before going on the 7-day concussion list in the middle of August, Panik was hitting .271.
He missed the next 10 games, but came back on fire. Panik has 19 hits over the last 13 games, raising his average to .285.
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On the season, Panik now has scored 50 runs, hit 10 home runs, which ties his career high, driven in 48 and he has a .344 on-base-percentage.
Those are certainly numbers the San Francisco Giants can accept from Panik.
Now there is still almost a month of baseball left, which gives him enough time to either help or hurt those numbers. But I think San Francisco Giants fans feel much better about the future with Panik at second base.
You also have to consider that Panik has shown Gold Glove defense in his short career.
It would be great to see Panik develop into the number two hitter everyone is hoping he will be. With the numbers he’s put up over the past few months, he’s certainly shown he can do that for the Giants.
Panik handles the bat well and doesn’t strike out a lot, which is what you want in the two-spot. Hopefully he continues to show improvement as the season concludes, and puts minds at ease for the future at second base.