The San Jose Giants received a visit from World Series champion Joe Panik on Thursday. Panik quietly retired following the 2021 season, but did not stay away from baseball for long. The Giants hired Panik as a special advisor this past winter.
SF Giants World Series champion works out with San Jose's prospects
The special advisor role can be an ambiguous job in baseball as teams typically hire former players or coaches with longstanding ties to the organization. The role varies from person to person and depends on that person's skill set.
For Panik, his role will focus primarily on player development and he was engaging in that role recently prior to a San Jose Giants game according to the team's broadcaster Joe Ritzo:
In Ritzo's tweet, Panik is working with a Giants prospect at third base. Panik came up as a second baseman but started seeing more time at other positions, including third base, later in his career. It is hard to tell who he is working with, but it looks like infield prospect Thomas Gavello, who has spent the most time at third base this season.
Gavello was drafted in the 13th round of the 2022 draft out of the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. He is off to a nice start in his career, slashing .255/.416/.471 with eight home runs, 30 RBI, and 37 runs in 203 plate appearances. Incredibly, he has been hit 24 times in 2023. Some players just have a knack for that.
Returning to San Jose is a minor homecoming for Panik. He was drafted by the Giants in the first round of the 2011 draft out of St. John's University on Queens. New York. The 32-year-old spent the entire 2012 season with the San Jose Giants where he posted a .770 OPS with seven home runs across 605 plate appearances.
Of course, this eventually became a small stepping stone in reaching the majors in 2014 where recorded a .305 batting average while helping the Giants win their third World Series in five seasons.
The left-handed bat was known for his solid defense and great bat-to-ball skills. His tenure with San Francisco ended in 2019, but his career is so ingrained with the organization that he can offer a lot of knowledge to future Giants.