The Giants failed to capture their even year magic in 2016, and a large part why, was the struggles from Joe Panik. After his concussion and subsequent down season, what should fantasy owners expect from him next season?
The Giants struggled all year to find consistent offense. Thanks to injuries, and under performers, San Fran could not overcome the Cubs in the first round of the playoffs. One key Giants’ player that did not live up to expectations was, Joe Panik.
The Giants were hoping for Panik to be a steady top of the order bat, that could keep the team afloat. Unfortunately, things did not go as well as hoped. Joe Panik finished the season with a, .239/10 HR/62 RBI/5 SB/.695 OPS line. He played in a career most 127 games, and set highs in HR and RBI, but the .239 AVG and a concussion, dampened his season.
The biggest worry with Panik, is of course, the concussion. Panik was hit by a pitch in the head in mid-June, and even nearly played the rest of month through concussion symptoms. He was finally put on the 7-day concussion DL in late June, and would miss most of July. Besides missing time, fantasy owners were also frustrated by his knack for alternating hot and cold months.
In April, he hit .280/3 HR/12 RBI. In May, .213/2 HR/8 RBI. June, .275/2 HR/16 RBI. July he was sidelined. In August, .276/3 HR/16 RBI, and in September, .167/0 HR/9 RBI. As you can see, these types of months are incredibly frustrating, and why he was an easy drop candidate. But, what can fantasy owners expect from him next season?
Panik is never going to be a fantasy dynamo, but he does offer enough to be a MI or UTIL selection. The one thing that can not be quantified, is if Panik will ever be the same pre-concussion. All players are day-to-day, but he would not be the first to struggle overcoming these symptoms.
But, from an optimistic standpoint, Panik still showed some positive things. The 10 HR were a career high, and the number will rise if he can stay healthy over the course of the season, topping off somewhere in the 15 HR range. He still maintained a minuscule 9% K rate, and posted a 54% Med contact rate. He still squares the ball up well, and possess one of the best eyes in the game.
There are some concerns though. A near 6% drop in his LD rate, a 46% GB rate, and a 5% dip in his Hard contact rate, are all indicators of the roots of his struggles. He just could not get his peripherals get back in line with his norms. Now his 37% FB rate, did help offset the other flaws, and his HR and 2B rates climbed as a result.
His AVG dip is really perplexing. His BABIP took a dip thanks to the drop in his LD rate, but his .245 BABIP is way too low to believe in. He is a career .287 AVG hitter. and his dips were not that severe to warrant such a violent drop. Fantasy owners have to wonder about the concussion, but if he can avoid any setbacks, he should bounceback.
It is early, but Panik would be one of my favoirte late round MI picks. He can be had for peanuts, and has shown some encouraging improvements. Lets say he can get his AVG back into the near .300’s, he keeps his HR% steady and creeps into the 15 HR range, and at worst, offers a combined 130 R/RBI , that serves as a nice late round flier.
Monitor him throughout the spring and in the offseason to make sure there are no setbacks. The Giants will need him to regain his form and be that steady force that he can be, and fantasy owners should not sleep on him on draft day.