SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) – The San Francisco Giants selected St. John’s shortstop Joe Panik with their first pick in the baseball draft, while their cross bay rivals selected Vanderbilt right-hander Sonny Gray with the 18th pick.
Gray is undersized at 5-foot-11 but had the talent to go even higher in Monday’s draft. He has a fastball in the low- to mid-90s and knee-buckling curveball and projects as either a closer or starter in the majors.
Gray is 11-3 with a 2.03 ERA in 16 starts for Vanderbilt this season. He has 115 strikeouts in 107 2-3 innings. He is the co-ace, along with Grayson Garvin, of the Commodores staff, helping the team reach the super regionals of the NCAA tournament.
Panik, a left-handed slugger who led the Red Storm with a .398 batting average, was taken with the 29th overall pick and maybe a long-term solution in the middle infield. The defending World Series champs have Freddy Sanchez at second but have used a variety of players at shortstop this season, including Miguel Tejada.
Panik hit 10 home runs and boasted a .642 slugging percentage at St. John’s this season, though he grounded out to end the Red Storm’s season in the semifinal of the Charlottesville Regional on Sunday.
(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)