Photo: St. John's

50 in 50: Joe Panik

Draft : : Top Prospects
Allan Simpson        
Published: Friday, June 03, 2011

Joe Panik
SS / St. John’s University

Bats-Throws:
L-R
Height/Weight: 6-2/195
Hometown: Hopewell Junction, N.Y.
Previously Drafted: Never Drafted
Birthdate: Oct. 30, 1990

SCOUTING PROFILE:
In one of the deepest drafts in years, scouts have lamented the lack of quality middle infielders in the college ranks. But Panik has quietly been moving up draft boards this spring and has reached a point, on the eve of the draft, that he might seriously challenge Hawaii second baseman Kolten Wong and North Carolina shortstop Levi Michael to become the first middle infielder taken. Even if he falls short, Panik could still slip into the back end of the first round. The New York-based scouts who have followed Panik since early in his high-school career have noted his year-to-year improvement, and that improvement was especially evident this year, particularly in his performance at the plate. He made a very easy transition to the new bat standards introduced at the NCAA level, hitting .402-9-56 vs. .374-10-53 with aluminum as a sophomore. He played a vital role in all phases of the game in leading St. John’s to an unexpected regional berth, topping the Red Storm in batting, homers, runs (59), stolen bases (21) and walks (42). Panik was also the glue to a Yarmouth-Dennis team that posted the best regular-season record in the Cape Cod League last summer, and reached the league final. Scouts are impressed with his excellent feel for hitting, especially his polished, disciplined approach and strike-zone awareness. He earns high marks, as well, for his smooth, easy, compact lefthanded swing and ability to barrel up balls on a consistent basis. He flashes power, but it is mostly to the gaps. The single quality that scouts may most admire about Panik, though, is his general approach to the game. He is a very steady, dependable player with an excellent work ethic and game awareness. He comes to play every day and goes about his job with no flash, just substance. He never gets too high, or too low. Panik consistently plays above his tools as his power and speed, and range in the field are limited. Though his raw speed is not an asset, he more than makes up for it with superior base-running instincts. Scouts are impressed with his long, lean athletic frame, but aren’t convinced he will remain at shortstop as he climbs the ladder in professional baseball. He has the soft hands and quick feet to play short, but his range and arm strength may be better suited for second base. He had labrum surgery on his shoulder following his freshman season at St. John’s and has some difficulty, at times, making the long throw from the hole at shortstop. Because of the way he plays the game, Panik ranks as one of the safer, more low-risk players in this draft, and that quality alone will make him appealing to a number of clubs.

Projected Draft Position:
Compensation round.

Perfect Game Events Attended
    2005 WWBA Underclass Championship

    2006 WWBA 17U/07 Grad. National Championship
    2007 WWBA 2008 Grads or 17u National Championship
    2007 NE Top Prospects Games
    2007 WWBA Northeast Qualifier

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