Troy Tulowitzkis don’t grow on trees. Jose Reyeseses can’t be made from a Promethean mold. JJ Hardys don’t get released by two teams and then blossom into elit- sorry Brewers and Twins fans, got a bit off track there. Point is, there aren’t a lot of quality big league shortstops in the known universe. Few can combine an above average bat with crisp glove skills and enough speed to go deep into the hole and up the middle. The Giants are a team that has especially had trouble at the position, choosing to sign veterans like Juan Uribe, Miguel Tejada, and Orlando Cabrera to make sure Panda has someone to talk to. Since the latter two vets failed to give even mediocre production at the position, the Giants have been forced to look to their homegrown talent to fill the void.
The Giants’ current shortstop, 25-year-old Brandon Crawford, has the aformentioned slick glove but lacks the offensive tools to be considered a long-term solution in San Francisco. Fortunately, the Giants used their first round draft pick in 2011 on a shortstop from St. John’s University named Joe Panik. However, the scouting consensus is that Panik and his plus hitting and limited defense would be better served at second base, creating an even deeper hole for the Giants to climb out of at the shortstop position. But hold on right there. Why? Why would Panik be better served at second in the big leagues, and where does this line of thinking come from? The answer is essentially defense, but it’s complicated.