|Photo by Ashlie Bernal|
Panik may not be a power-hitter, but he will definitely make contact, take walks, and give you a grind-it-out at-bat. He is currently hitting .254, with a solid .349 on-base percentage for the San Jose Giants.
He has also taken 26 walks in 46 games. I had a chance to sit down and talk with the talented, young 22-year-old prospect.
Here is the interview. I will post the full story (and video interview) once the piece goes up on NBCBayArea.com.
Vince: We got Joe Panik the number 1 draft pick from last year. How are you doing today Joe?
Vince: Going alright?
Joe: Going very good.
Vince: Alright, so let’s get started. How does it feel right now to play baseball professionally?
Joe: You know, it’s a dream, as you know, every little kid’s dream is to play baseball professionally. To be able to live that dream, it’s…you know, you definitely don’t take it for granted, and you definitely appreciate coming to the ballpark every day.
Vince: Tell us briefly how you got started in baseball.
Joe: You know, my dad, big baseball fan growing up, you know, big baseball fan. When I was a young kid, we would always be watching baseball on TV, and you know, when I was three years old, we would go out, my dad would toss me a ball, and it started from when I was young just watching TV. Going to the park, and all of those things, went through little league, and it’s just something I did from when I was young. You know, it really became a passion of mine.
Vince: Any favorite teams?
Joe: Growing up, I was a Yankees fan, just being from New York, but I won’t say that now. You know, I’m definitely a Giants fan now.
Vince: Let’s talk baseball now. How would you describe yourself as a ballplayer in general?
Joe: You know, I always consider myself a competitor. I might not have all the flashy tools, but I go out there day in and day out. I grind out at-bats. I feel like I’m a tough out, and a guy who will get on base and get pitched around.
Vince: Tell me a little bit more about your hitting approach. Are you more of a see-ball, hit-ball person, wait-em out, or both even?
Joe: You want to try to have a little bit of both, but I would consider myself more of a patient hitter, just because of the character I am. I’m not really a power guy, so I try to be more patient, work walks, kind of go that way, but you know, there are some times where you have to jump early in the count, you know, try to mix it up a little bit.
Vince: As far as your defense, are you…I see you play shortstop. Can you play all over the infield?
Joe: Yeah, I can play all over the infield. You know, I have some experience at second base in the Arizona Fall League and a little bit of big league camp and spring training, but you know, shortstop has been my position throughout.
Vince: Defensively, what are your assets? Do you have a good arm, strong arm, accurate?
Joe: I got a quick release. I’m very accurate. I’m not the strongest of arms, but I get rid of it quick, and I still have a good baseball IQ where I understand the runners, and, you know, how to handle certain balls, and how to get rid of it.
Vince: Now, as far as your hitting, I see you’re off to a bit of a slow start average-wise, but I have a feeling that’s not the real Joe Panik. You do have 8 doubles, you have 15 RBIs, not bad, you’re OBP is good. Is this the real Joe Panik or are we going to see more later on?
Joe: You know, I definitely have not gotten into a groove offensively. It’s been kind of a slow start, but we’re winning right now and so that’s kind of helping everything, definitely, but you know, good things are coming. I’m starting to feel good. I’ve been working every day, you know, in the cages and on the field. The swings are feeling really good, so good things are coming.
Vince: Yesterday, you had a pretty good day at the plate. How do you feel at the plate right now?
Joe: You know, I’m getting more confident. The more at-bats you get throughout a season, you get more comfortable at the plate, and you know, you get your timing back, you’re rhythm…you know, in the past week or so, I feel I’m getting my confidence. I’m getting into the rhythm. I’m really starting to see the ball well.
Vince: Recently, you were just in spring training. What did you learn from that?
Joe: I learned everyone works hard. No matter how talented you are. Guys like Tim Lincecum, you know, guys at the top in the game, they work as you know harder than anybody. Definitely, take that approach because you want to get up there someday.
Vince: Last question. What are you working on right now and what are your goals for the future?
Joe: I’m trying to improve. You know, pretty much just trying to polish off my game in general. You can always get better at everything, and you know obviously my goal is to improve because like I said, to get to the majors, you can’t…you’re not good enough to just stay put. You’re not getting better. You’re getting worse. That’s my motto, so just trying to improve my hitting, and trying to get more quality at-bats. Defensively, just keep making the plays, keeping it solid, and helping the pitchers out.
Vince: Thank you.
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Information from MILB.com contributed to this article.
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