Panik went to St. John’s University and was a first-round pick of the Giants in 2011. A contact-oriented second baseman with good strike zone awareness but limited power, Panik was seen as a solid but not top-tier prospect. He hit his way up the minor league ladder quickly, reaching the majors midway through the 2014 campaign.
The lefty-hitting Panik staked a claim to the regular second base job in San Francisco almost out of the gate. He made a brief debut in May, returned to the minors for a month, then was called up for good in late June. From that point forward, he played regularly at the keystone. Panik hit .305/.343/.368 through his first 73 games. He continued his regular role into the postseason for a San Francisco club that won its third World Series title in five years.
Panik remained the Giants second baseman for the next few seasons. He followed up his rookie showing with an excellent .312/.378/.455 campaign. Paired with sure-handed defense, he earned an All-Star nod that year. Panik’s offense took a step back in 2016 but he continued to play well on the other side of the ball, picking up the National League Gold Glove award for second basemen.
After another solid season in 2017, his offensive production dipped as he dealt with injuries (including repeated concussion issues). Panik became more of a veteran role player than a true regular from that point forward, still offering a high-contact bat but without great results on balls in play. The Giants designated him for assignment in August 2019, ending his eight-year tenure in the organization. He hooked on with the Mets for the stretch run and performed fairly well.
Panik signed successive minor league contracts with the Blue Jays heading into 2020 and ’21. He made the Opening Day roster both times, but the Jays dealt him to the Marlins last July to offset some salary in the deal that landed Adam Cimber and Corey Dickerson in Toronto. Panik finished out the season with the Fish, appearing in 53 games.
At just 31 years old, it seems likely Panik could’ve found another minor league deal had he wished to continue playing. He left the Miami organization late last season to attend the birth of his daughter, though, and Heyman writes that he’s now “enjoying family life.” Panik steps aside having appeared in 818 big league games and tallied more than 3000 trips to the plate.
All told, he was a .264/.328/.372 hitter. He only hit 42 home runs, never more than ten in a season, but he also had a minuscule 10.1% strikeout rate that’s less than half the MLB average. Panik also tallied 136 doubles, 19 triples, scored 340 runs and drove in 258. He has the aforementioned Gold Glove and All-Star selection and was a regular on a World Series winner. MLBTR congratulates Panik on an excellent career and wishes him the best in his post-playing days.