Panik turning things around in Fall League
Giants prospect goes 3-for-3, scores twice in Scorpions' fourth straight win
Joe Panik isn't one of those first-round picks who's known for hitting the ball out of the park. And he wouldn't have it any other way.
The Giants' No. 6 prospect went 3-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, two runs scored and an RBI on Saturday night to lead the Scottsdale Scorpions to a 5-3 Arizona Fall League win over the Salt River Rafters.
Panik helped spark a three-run third inning, singling to load the bases and scoring on a groundout by fellow San Francisco farmhand Chris Dominguez. He set up the Scorpions' next two runs, singling, stealing second and coming home on Dominguez's single in the fifth and capping the scoring with an RBI base hit in the seventh.
"I just tried to simplify things," Panik said. "I got up with runners in scoring positions and got some good counts and put some good swings on the ball. I stuck with the approach and everything kind of worked out."
Panik was off to a slow start in the desert, going 1-for-15 in his first four games. With hits in his last three contests, the soon-to-be 22-year-old shortstop has raised his average to .240.
"After a couple of weeks off, I got back into the swing of things, back into the rhythm with pitchers," he said. "I take a simple approach and try to relax at the plate. It's a game -- that's been working for me the last couple of games."
Panik has drawn four walks while striking out twice in seven Fall League game, statistics that are not uncommon for the St. John's University product. In 130 regular-season games for Class A Advanced San Jose, he had 58 walks against 54 strikeouts.
"I know I'm not a three-, four- or five-hitter who's going to hit home runs," Panik said. "I'm a No. 2 hitter and my job is to get on base. I try to put the ball in play and work the walks and stay patient and not get myself out.
"I guess you could say that's [being a throwback], especially now you see a lot of guys hitting a lot of home runs. I consider myself one of those guys who is going to get down and dirty and do the little things. I don't take anything for granted when I play this game, I give 110 percent all the time."
Yankees' No. 5 prospect Slade Heathcott drove in a pair of runs and Ronny Rodriguez (Indians) doubled and scored twice as Scottsdale extended its winning streak to five games and climbed over Salt River into first place in the East Division.
Giants prospect Chris Gloor (1-1) got the win after limiting the Rafters to one run on four hits over five innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.
"Chris has been pitching real well for himself down here," Panik said. "[He's a] left-handed guy who mixes speeds and knows how to get hitters out. He knows how to throw his pitches for strikes, moves the ball in and out. I haven't figured him out yet -- and I play behind him."
Mark Montgomery (Yankees) fanned three over 1 2/3 hitless innings and Vic Black (Pirates) tossed a scoreless ninth for his first AFL save.
Rockies' No. 20 prospect Corey Dickerson slugged a solo homer for Salt River, which has dropped three in a row.
Robert Emrich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.