Coming into September 4th, Joe Panik was slashing .267/.330/.400 on the season. A respectable slashline, but nothing that jumps off the page to you. Then, on September 4th, Panik was advised by the Giants hitting coach, Hensley Meulens, to adjust his swing and choke up on the bat more. Since he made that adjustment, Panik has been slashing .490/.536/.686, and he continued that on Wednesday, going 3-4, 2 R, 1 RBI. He’s decreased his fly ball rate, increased his line drive rate, and has started hitting to the opposite field more. There’s no additional power here, but Panik’s never been a power hitter. If he’s able to keep up these line drive hits though, runs and RBIs could be coming in in bigger numbers. Now, I know, this is a small sample size, but I think it’s something worth paying attention to, because if this swing adjustment is legit, and it looks like it could be, Panik might be an interesting name to think about in next year’s draft (and if you’re in the championship or playoffs right now, he’s a really good guy to add to give your team an extra boost).
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday:
Hanley Ramirez (1B, BOS) – 3-5, 1 R, 3 RBI. This year has just really been a lost one for Hanley Ramirez. I think injuries have plagued him all year, you can see that he really lost some plate discipline and bat speed this year, as we saw increases in his whiff rate and in his chase rate. I’m worried that this or worse is what we should expect from Hanley going forward, I mean the guy is almost 34-years-old.
Marcus Semien (SS, OAK) – 2-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. It would’ve been interesting to see a full year out of Marcus Semien, because his current numbers would have paced out to fewer home runs than normal, but nearly 20 steals and over 100 runs. I don’t know that that’s the future for Semien, whose typically been a 20-25 home run, 10+ steal guy, but who knows. If this is what he’s doing now, he could be somewhat useful given the power/speed potential.
Justin Bour (1B, MIA) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Bour’s picked up right where he left off when he went on the DL. I really think that, if given a full season, Bour could hit 35-40 home runs while maintaining a .270s batting average, and I think he’s one of the more underrated players in baseball and someone I’ll be targeting in next year’s draft.
Adam Frazier (OF/2B, PIT) – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Adam Frazier is a much better real-life baseball player than a fantasy option. He maintains a high batting average and is just a good overall hitter, but he doesn’t really have the power or speed to be a meaningful fantasy asset. That being said, the guy is 25. He’s a mature, solid hitter, and could be useful in deep leagues next year. And if he starts to get a little bit of power or some more speed, he’s all of a sudden a really good fantasy asset.
Aaron Altherr (OF, PHI) – 3-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Altherr now has three consecutive games with a home run and he’s been one of the cooler stories of this year. He changed things up and started hitting the ball way harder which has translated to some great success. While he’s been coming back to earth a little lately as the BABIP has regressed to the mean, he’s still a solid hitter and should continue to be next year.
Tommy Pham (OF, STL) – 3-5, 2 R, 2 RBI. Pham has been one of the breakout stars this year, and I think it’s important to note that while he’s got a .309 batting average on the year, he’s also got a .373 BABIP. I still think he’s a good hitter with a good combination of power and speed, but don’t expect a .300 average again next year, I worry he’ll be overdrafted.