Programming note: Giants-Nationals coverage starts today at 12:30 p.m. with Giants Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
WASHINGTON – Joe Panik’s success is delighting Giants coaches, players and fans.
John Barr is pretty happy about it, too.
“We thought he could hit,” said Barr, who heard a fair amount of second-guessing when the Giants took Panik with the 29th overall pick in the 2011 draft. “He had a simple swing and we viewed him as a winning player. We felt he could stay somewhere in the middle of the infield. Those are guys you want in your system.”
About the initial reaction to the pick, Barr said, “There were a few eye rolls.”
[RELATED: Streaking Panik, Giants put Nationals on ice]
Now the eyes are trained on Panik, whose .429 average in August leads all major leaguers. Panik was 4-for-5 and hit his first big league home run, a three-run shot, in the Giants’ 10-3 victory at Nationals Park on Friday.
Although the Giants had half a mind to platoon second base with Matt Duffy, Panik is hitting .438 (14 for 32) against left-handed pitching. He’s 9-for-16 on a road trip that manager Bruce Bochy wasn’t sure he would be fit to play because of a dislocated left pinky finger.
In other words, nothing is going to keep Panik off the field – except rain, maybe, and the tarp was on the field with a steady rain falling prior to Saturday’s first pitch.