If there’s a weakness among the otherwise entirely useful body of work produced by the baseball community regarding prospects, it’s a preoccupation with “facts” — as opposed, that is, to estimates regarding what pleasures this or that prospect might be capable of eliciting in the mind, say, of a bespectacled and extravagantly educated 32-year-old sitting in his apartment in Madison, Wisconsin.
With a view towards filling this vacuum in the literature, NotGraphs utilizes what German filmmaker and relentless ubermensch Werner Herzog has called “ecstatic truth” — a term which defies easy explanation, but which Herzog has described as “a searching for truth beyond the facts and much deeper than facts.”
What follows is an ecstatic-truth prospect report on San Francisco Giants middle-infield prospect Joe Panik.
Joe Panik, SS, San Francisco
DOB: 10/30/1990 Height/Weight: 6-1/193
Notable Achievements: Is currently atop the SCOUT batting leaderboard for prospect-age players in the Arizona Fall League. Also hit quite well in the 2011 edition of the AFL. Has posted more walks than strikeouts (86:79 BB:K) in first 900 or so minor-league plate appearances. Has fringe arm for shortstop, but good hands and fine range.
Scouting Report: While the person of Joe Panik is unimpressive, the idea of Joe Panik has been known to induce “visions” and other hallucinatory experiences. One respondent, having contemplated Joe Panik for some time, reported being confronted by an array of colorful electric octagons, such as one might find in the title sequence of an educational program for children — another one, of having the distinct sensation of performing a remodel on a farmhouse in upstate New York. “It was strange,” said a third. “I found myself unable to dismiss the notion that — not unlike a cartoon mouse — I had made a bed out of an empty box of matches, using a cotton ball for a pillow.” While disorienting, such experiences are thought to have little in the way of short- or long-term negative effects.