Q1) What are your thoughts on Joe Panik, and how long do you think before we see him in ? He's already started off red hot with their Single-A team, showing power and average, and kind of reminds me of Stephen Drew. Do you think he'll be a Buster Posey-type, sort of overnight success, or does he still have a few years of development to undergo?
B.F.) Panik was the best shortstop I saw with my own eyes this season. I was extremely impressed with his hitting while he is a solid defender but will not win any gold gloves though. Panik seems to do all the little things right from moving players over and coming through in the clutch.
As for actual on the field baseball, we're in the middle of the All-Star break as the mid-summer classic went in the National League's favor Tuesday night in Milwaukee. NL 1st Basemen Prince Fielder was the MVP, hitting the game deciding 3-run home run off C.J. Wilson in the 4th inning to give the NL a lead they'd never relinquish. The only Athletic to make the team was left-handed starter Gio Gonzalez and he made it into the game for the AL, striking out Jay Bruce in the bottom of the 8th inning in what was his only out and batter faced. The Giants got 2 of their 5 all-stars into the game as well, and I'm a little surprised we didn't see either Vogelsong or Matt Cain too. It was just Brian Wilson and Pablo Sandoval. Wilson closed the game out and got the save for the NL, collecting the final 2 outs of the ballgame in just 7 pitches. Pablo Sandoval also had an impact, driving in the NL's 5th and final run in the 7th inning with a ground rule double to left-center. The dude doesn't care if it's the all-star game or a regular season game, he's absolutely tearing the cover off the ball. With the focus he's had this season, it's really a shame he had to miss more than a month with a broken hand, cause his numbers would be a lot better than they are, and they still aren't bad at all for a guy who missed 5 weeks of the first half with a broken bone in his throwing hand! Nate Schierholtz has come on real strong as of late, but since Opening Day, there hasn't been a more valuable commodity to this lineup than The Panda and he's making the loss of Posey a little easier to swallow!