Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Time for yet another 2016 fantasy baseball draft sleeper and today that brings us to the volatile and show second base position where one San Francisco Giants upstart hast he look of a guy who can supply some major bang for draft bucks.  Of course I am referring to Joe Panik who took another decent but not gigantic leap in his development in 2015.  An August back injury finished his season early though and that helped to keep Panik's 2016 draft cost at an affordable rate which makes him a decent sleeper candidate for the second year in a row.  Let's dig in and find out why.

At only 25-years-old, Panik continues to show pure hitting skills that point to a possible future batting champion.  As proof of this, Panik has now hit .305 and .312 in his first two major league campaigns, which came with miniscule K rates of 11.5 and 9.7 percent respectively.  While Panik has had some decent BABIP luck during both those seasons, he still possesses a smooth and compact swing that sprays line drives all over the field.  That means Panik is almost a lock for a .300 average and with him hitting near the top of the Giants lineup, 70-plus runs is also very likely with good health. 

What really is starting to blossom with Panik and in turn makes him into more of a potential top tier fantasy baseball second baseman is the development of his power.  After just 3 home runs as a rookie in 269 at-bats, Panik cracked 8 in only 382 at-bats last season.  With Panik getting close to his prime years, the power uptick is no shock and some more upside there is very likely.  While we are not talking about a 20-home run guy, Panik is very capable of putting 12-15 balls out of the park which jives nicely with a .300-plus average and solid counting totals in runs and RBI.  The only knock here really is the fact Panik has very little speed as he has just 3 steals total in his two-year career which is a knock since you want stolen bases from your middle infielders.

With second base looking quite shaky again in terms of daily league targets, Joe Panik has the look of a very good upside play at a nice draft price.  At the very least you will get help in three categories (average, runs, RBI), while making inroads in home runs.  A middle round pick used on Panik would be a smart idea. 

2016 PROJECTION:  .317 14 HR 63 RBI 77 R 5 SB 


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