Best San Francisco Giants of the 2010s: 18. Joe Panik
By Joel Reuter
While the Joe Panik era came to an end at the beginning of August, he was an integral part of the San Francisco Giants homegrown infield.
The San Francisco Giants selected Joe Panik with the No. 29 overall pick in the 2011 draft out of St. John’s University.
A three-year starter for the Red Storm, he hit .398/.509/.642 with 19 doubles, 10 home runs, 57 RBI and 21 steals during his junior season while recording significantly more walks (44) than strikeouts (24).
After a stellar pro debut, he spent his first full pro season at the High-A level, batting .297/.368/.402 with 38 extra-base hits and 76 RBI in 130 games.
That was enough to make him the No. 2 prospect in the San Francisco Giants farm system at the start of the 2013 season, according to Baseball America.
His production dipped a bit in the upper levels of the minors, but he remained on the fast track, making his MLB debut on June 21, 2014.
With an injured Marco Scutaro leaving a hole at second base, Panik quickly seized the everyday job and hit .305/.343/.368 with 1.2 WAR in 73 games to finish sixth in NL Rookie of the Year balloting.
He then went 3-for-5 in the NL Wild Card Game and piled up 17 hits with eight RBI and seven runs scored in 17 postseason games. That said, it’s his diving stop to start a double play in Game 7 of the World Series that will be his enduring moment from that October.
The following year, he took his game to another level, hitting .312/.378/.455 with 37 extra-base hits and 3.3 WAR to earn a spot on the NL All-Star team. In 2016, he added a Gold Glove Award to his list of accomplishments.
Unfortunately, his development seemingly stalled after that standout 2015 season.
From 2016-2018, he batted .262/.325/.383 for a 91 OPS+, though he was still a solid contributor thanks to his contact skills and standout glovework.
His production finally bottomed out in 2019 and he was designated for assignment following the July acquisition of Scooter Gennett. He had a 68 OPS+ in 388 plate appearances at the time of his release.
It was an unceremonious end to his time with the San Francisco Giants, but he more than earned his place among the top 20 players of the decade.
Check back here regularly as we count down the 50 best San Francisco Giants of the 2010s.