Giants draft shortstop Panik with first pick

Virginia Keith Werman, left, tags out St. John's Joe Panik (2) at second base during Game 4 of the NCAA college regional baseball tournament on Saturday, June 4, 2011, in Charlottesville, Va. Virginia won 10-2. (AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff)

The Giants followed a familiar path with their first-day picks in the first-year player draft on Monday, selecting a mature bat and a young arm.

The Giants selected St. John’s shortstop Joe Panik with the 29th overall pick on Monday. Panik, a left-handed hitter, hit .398 with 10 home runs and 53 RBI and had a .477 on-base percentage for the Red Storm this season. And there’s a lot to like about Panik.

He’s a contact hitter. The Giants need more of them.

He walks more than he strikes out (44 BB to 24 K). The Giants REALLY need more guys like that.

Panik can play both middle infield positions, but the Giants project him as a shortstop for now, even though they just called up rookie Brandon Crawford to play shortstop.

The selection of Panik followed a Giants trend of drafting hitters who can contribute quickly. The Giants recently have gone into the college ranks in recent years to select OF Gary Brown (Cal State Fullerton) and OF Jarrett Parker (Virginia) in 2010, 3B Chris Dominguez (Louisville) and 1B Brandon Belt (Texas) in 2009 and C Buster Posey (Florida State), 3B Connor Gillaspie (Wichita State) and Crawford (UCLA) in 2008.

While the Giants say they like Panik as a shortstop, it might not be a stretch to see him playing second base and hitting second in the order in 2013 when Freddy Sanchez’s contract expires. Charlie Culberson, a first-round pick in 2007 and currently at Double-A Richmond, also is a possibility at 2B.

With 49th overall selection, the Giants picked Kyle Crick, a hard-throwing high school pitcher from Texas. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder was clocked with a 95 mph fastball. He’s signed to play baseball with TCU, so it will be interesting to see if the Giants can sign him.

Crick follows out high school pitchers the Giants have recently drafted like Zack Wheeler (2009), Madison Bumgarner (2007) and Tim Alderson (2007).

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