2014 MLB Draft Profile: Joey Pankake, INF/OF, University of South Carolina

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

University of South Carolina third basemen Joey Pankake is one of the better bats available in the draft.

Summary

Coming into the year Joey Pankake and the coaching staff at the University of South Carolina made the decision that Pankake would move off shortstop. And for good reason Marcus Mooney, the current shortstop, is in the running as the best defensive shortstop at South Carolina since Adam Everett played there. They didn't exactly say 'shortstop defense = Mooney > Pankake,' but they did say that part of the reason was to improve Pankake's draft stock. Which is just ridiculous, but there you have it. This season Pankake has played third base, second base and left field. Out of the three he's played third base the most, mostly due to injury. And while he has the versatility to play all those positions, his defense is questionable.

This past offseason he toyed with the idea of becoming the Gamecocks' closer. It's been reported that he can touch mid-90s on the radar gun, but ultimately the decision was made to keep him a position player. He doesn't lack the arm to play any of the positions on the field, but seems to struggle with some of the more finer things that go into defense, like his hands, and focus. If a team has a good defensive coach (*cough*AdamEverett*cough*) that can help Pankake shore up a few things, he can become a pretty good everyday major league player.

Though he's taken a step back offensively this year, he's still one of the better bats available in the draft this year. He's got a good eye and has walked more than he's struck out this year at the plate. He's also got good speed and power to round out his offensive profile.

His bat is what will get him drafted early in the MLB draft and even help him get to the major leagues. If a team can refine his defensive prowess, he'll become of the steals of this draft.

Floor

Utility infielder. His bat should be good enough that he gets an opportunity to play at the major league level and at least become a professional pinch hitter. His defense is what will likely hold him back.

Ceiling

Regular starter, potential all-star. His bat has the ability to make up for his poor defense in the field, but if he gets with the right coach and improves his defense his value will only increase. Especially, if he proves he can handle multiple positions on the diamond.

Projected Draft Round

Second or third round, but I could see him fall as far as the fifth round.

Will He Sign?

He hasn't had as good of a year this year, so I guess there's a chance he returns, but I see it as unlikely.

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