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2021 Marlins Season Review: Joe Panik

You probably already forgot he was even here.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

You’ll be hard-pressed to find any South Florida faithful sporting a Joe Panik jersey in the aftermath of his struggles this past season.

2021 Timeline

  • February 12: Signed MiLB deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • March 26: Informed he has made the team’s Opening Day roster.
  • May 7: Placed on 10-day IL with a strained left calf.
  • May 22: Activated from 10-day IL.
  • June 29: Traded to Marlins in exchange for Adam Cimber and Corey Dickerson.
  • August 13: Landed on IL with an unspecified injury.
  • September 2: Reinstated from COVID-19 IL.
  • October 1: DFA’d by Miami and elected free agency.
  • October 16: First child, Mikayla Marie, was born.

By the Numbers

After at least being somewhat serviceable in a part-time role with Toronto—.246/.293/.351 slash line—Panik crashed and burned after his move to Miami. To say he was “bad” during his brief tenure in Miami would be akin to uttering “rosebud” at the mention of the film Citizen Kane. Simply put, Panik staked his claim as one of the worst position players in the majors in 2021.

In 53 games with the Marlins, Panik’s usage was split between starting infielder (27 games) and late-inning substitute (26 games). In his 134 plate appearances, he finished with an adjusted OPS+ of 27. Remember, 100 is considered league average, which means the former Giants All-Star was 73% worse than the aggregate of his peers.

It was almost as if the home run he hit in his first at-bat with the team was a clever tease to catch us off guard for a three-month-long practical joke of big-league incompetence.

Panik rebounded from his 2020 season in terms of max exit velocity, from a career-low 32nd percentile to the 48th percentile. The problem was he seldom got his barrel through the zone on time, only recording hard hits (95+ mph exit velo) on one-quarter of his balls in play.

Statcast’s outs above average metric was critical of his fielding. After ranking in the 86th percentile as recently as 2019, he plummeted to the 16th percentile in 2021, costing his team most of all at third base in his futile attempt to fill the shoes of an injured Brian Anderson.

Joe Panik’s percentile-rankings, 2021
Baseball-Savant

Defensive Runs Saved tells a similar story—Panik had -8 DRS overall (-9 DRS at the hot corner).

Only two MLB players, Jarred Kelenic (-1.7) and Pat Valakia (-1.9) finished with lower rWAR (Baseball-Reference) totals than Panik’s -1.5.

Highlights

Will Panik Be Back in 2022?

Short answer, no.

Dating back to 2018, Panik now has an extensive track record of being less than mediocre. It’s fair to question whether he’ll plays in the major leagues again.