Sports

Joey Pankake’s Big Move

University of South Carolina shortstop Joey Pankake had a whale of a year for the Gamecock baseball team. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Easley, S.C. native started all 62 games for head coach Chad Holbrook – hitting .311 with 40 runs, 11 home runs and 42 runs batted in. Those are impressive…

University of South Carolina shortstop Joey Pankake had a whale of a year for the Gamecock baseball team. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Easley, S.C. native started all 62 games for head coach Chad Holbrook – hitting .311 with 40 runs, 11 home runs and 42 runs batted in.

Those are impressive offensive numbers. Of course the rising junior did commit a team-high 17 errors – and his .927 fielding percentage was the worst of any Gamecock starter.

So … does that mean Pankake should be replaced at shortstop? Holbrook thinks so. In fact he announced his decision to do just that at a recent postseason press conference.

“He’ll still be hitting in the middle of our lineup,” Holbrook said. “He’ll still be an everyday player for us. We’ll look at a number of positions – third, left, maybe some at first. He can play every position.”

Holbrook also indicated Pankake would be pitching for the Gamecocks. In fact he’s foregoing summer baseball to work on strengthening his arm.

Hmmmm …

Gamecock baseball fans who wanted Pankake to stay at shortstop pointed out that Holbrook has an obvious motivation to free up this position – namely his nephew, DC Arendas (whose father is director of baseball operations at Holbrook’s alma mater, the University of North Carolina).

“I feel sorry for (Pankake),” one fan told us, likening his situation to that of another Gamecock utility man, former football player Syvelle Newton.

Arendas hit just .071 in limited action in 2013 – collecting one hit in fourteen at bats and scoring twice. Arendas did perform flawlessly in the field, though – committing zero errors and recording seven putouts and thirteen assists.

As much as we’re inclined to bite on a good conspiracy theory, we don’t see any reason why Holbrook would play favorites in this situation. With the level of expectations he has to manage (the Gamecocks won a pair of national titles in 2010 and 2011 – and made it to the College World Series final a year ago), we don’t see any scenario in which he would let family loyalty trump what’s best for the program.

Also it’s not like leaving the shortstop position hurt … say … Chipper Jones.

Still, people are talking … which means there will be considerable pressure on Arendas to provide offensive contributions at the shortstop position in 2014.

***

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36 comments

Cocky June 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Shortstops at USC should be elite defenders first. Arendas is an elite defender. Pankake is a good defender, which is why he’ll do just fine at 3B or LF along with pitching. This does nothing but help Pankake’s draft status.

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Cocky June 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Shortstops at USC should be elite defenders first. Arendas is an elite defender. Pankake is a good defender, which is why he’ll do just fine at 3B or LF along with pitching. This does nothing but help Pankake’s draft status.

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General Lee June 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm

How many errors did he have? The only reason he started was his ability to hit rbi’s nothing to see here

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General Lee June 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm

How many errors did he have? The only reason he started was his ability to hit rbi’s nothing to see here

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JC June 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm

I’ll take Bobby Haney or Peter Mooney any day over Pankake. Double plays won us back to back titles, and Pankake being called a liability in the field is an understatement.

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Smirks June 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Pankake is great at bat, but you’re right, Wingo saved our bacon on several occasions due to his excellence on defense.

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JC June 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm

I’ll take Bobby Haney or Peter Mooney any day over Pankake. Double plays won us back to back titles, and Pankake being called a liability in the field is an understatement.

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Smirks June 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Pankake is great at bat, but you’re right, Wingo saved our bacon on several occasions due to his excellence on defense.

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Okay June 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Pankake is a terrible fielder who cost us several games unfortunately. To say he makes up for it at the plate would be ignoring the UNC series and the fact that you’re supposed to produce at the plate no matter your position. He should’ve been moved a long time ago, so I have a hard time believing any Gamecock fan is arguing he should stay at short. Glad to see they’re working on a move now instead of later.

Wonder if he could keep his head together enough to pitch though…

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9" June 19, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Right on.Carolina should worry about getting a solid closer.

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Okay June 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Pankake is a terrible fielder who cost us several games unfortunately. To say he makes up for it at the plate would be ignoring the UNC series and the fact that you’re supposed to produce at the plate no matter your position. He should’ve been moved a long time ago, so I have a hard time believing any Gamecock fan is arguing he should stay at short. Glad to see they’re working on a move now instead of later.

Wonder if he could keep his head together enough to pitch though…

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9" June 19, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Right on.Carolina should worry about getting a solid closer.

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coolhandluke June 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Arendas will compete for the SS position but there will be a couple of others; namely, Jordan gore of Conway and I suspect another juco will be brought in. Holbrook will not play favorites.

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coolhandluke June 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Arendas will compete for the SS position but there will be a couple of others; namely, Jordan gore of Conway and I suspect another juco will be brought in. Holbrook will not play favorites.

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Tank June 19, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Joey Pankake can’t hit a 6’+ by 3′ wide, LB Dantzler-shaped target from shortstop some 75 feet away. I can’t fathom him throwing from FURTHER at 3B, or trying to pitch and hitting a 3′ by 2′ target from 60′ 6″.

Also, anyone who’s watched Pankake play the last two years knows “What’s Behind Shakeup in Gamecock Lineup” is one of the stupidest subheadings ever posted on this site.

I don’t care if it’s DC Arendas, some new guy, or Will Folks, SOMEBODY not named “Pankake” needs to man SS, and that man needs to be excellent defensively before offensively.

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Ex Cardinal June 27, 2013 at 3:16 pm

There is a different throwing motion third vs Left . I would try him at Left Field in spring training.

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Tank June 19, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Joey Pankake can’t hit a 6’+ by 3′ wide, LB Dantzler-shaped target from shortstop some 75 feet away. I can’t fathom him throwing from FURTHER at 3B, or trying to pitch and hitting a 3′ by 2′ target from 60′ 6″.

Also, anyone who’s watched Pankake play the last two years knows “What’s Behind Shakeup in Gamecock Lineup” is one of the stupidest subheadings ever posted on this site.

I don’t care if it’s DC Arendas, some new guy, or Will Folks, SOMEBODY not named “Pankake” needs to man SS, and that man needs to be excellent defensively before offensively.

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Ex Cardinal June 27, 2013 at 3:16 pm

There is a different throwing motion third vs Left . I would try him at Left Field in spring training.Or what they call the first work-outs.

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just another guy June 19, 2013 at 8:33 pm

I swear you get most of your stories from the big spur about the gamecocks. It shows up there, and then with in 24 hours, it shows up here. Not mad, but wished you gave credit where credit is due.

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just another guy June 19, 2013 at 8:33 pm

I swear you get most of your stories from the big spur about the gamecocks. It shows up there, and then with in 24 hours, it shows up here. Not mad, but wished you gave credit where credit is due.

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Matt June 19, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Guessing they have a legit JC player lined up for SS next season

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Matt June 19, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Guessing they have a legit JC player lined up for SS next season

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CITADEL4U June 20, 2013 at 11:34 am

Carolina’s infield sucks!!

Anyone with common sense would move Pankake to the out field.
The Second Baseman needs to go too. If he isn’t hitting then put him on the bench where he can’t screw up. Infield is no place for guys who can’t play it with errorless ball.

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Tank June 21, 2013 at 8:17 am

Schrock had a pretty terrible postseason, defensively, but was quite good during the regular season. As a freshman with just a handful of lousy games, I’m certainly willing to have more patience w/ Schrock than Pankake, who’s been scuffling around for 2 years now.

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CITADEL4U June 20, 2013 at 11:34 am

Carolina’s infield sucks!!

Anyone with common sense would move Pankake to the out field.
The Second Baseman needs to go too. If he isn’t hitting then put him on the bench where he can’t screw up. Infield is no place for guys who can’t play it with errorless ball.

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Tank June 21, 2013 at 8:17 am

Schrock had a pretty terrible postseason, defensively, but was quite good during the regular season. As a freshman with just a handful of lousy games, I’m certainly willing to have more patience w/ Schrock than Pankake, who’s been scuffling around for 2 years now.

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Ex Cardinal June 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Put Pankake in Left or Right field We need his Bat.!!

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Ex Cardinal June 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Put Pankake in Left or Right field We need his Bat.!!

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GamecockBaseball June 25, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Great at the plate, but definitely our worst defensive shortstop in recent memory. Drew Meyers, Steven Tolleson, Reese Havens, Haney, and Mooney all had much better gloves

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GamecockBaseball June 25, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Great at the plate, but definitely our worst defensive shortstop in recent memory. Drew Meyers, Steven Tolleson, Reese Havens, Haney, and Mooney all had much better gloves

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Ja June 25, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Put him at third… Vergason is gone… Who’s gonna play third? I say that’s joeys best chance

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Ja June 25, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Put him at third… Vergason is gone… Who’s gonna play third? I say that’s joeys best chance

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Ja June 25, 2013 at 5:48 pm

What about cal Ripken jr.’s son? He’s gonna be the back up first baseman right?.. Why not give him a chance to start at SS

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Ja June 25, 2013 at 5:48 pm

What about cal Ripken jr.’s son? He’s gonna be the back up first baseman right?.. Why not give him a chance to start at SS

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Willy July 2, 2013 at 1:08 am

What the hell is this stuff about shrock being a bad defensive 2b he had 1 bad game, he had 4 errors the whole regular season. Pankake needs to play rf and close. Gore needs to play short, he is a top tier defensive player and a decent hitter, and will get better with added strength. Saiko might have some competition with Brock maxwell, this kid can play. With this recruiting class we r in position for a great year

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Willy July 2, 2013 at 1:08 am

What the hell is this stuff about shrock being a bad defensive 2b he had 1 bad game, he had 4 errors the whole regular season. Pankake needs to play rf and close. Gore needs to play short, he is a top tier defensive player and a decent hitter, and will get better with added strength. Saiko might have some competition with Brock maxwell, this kid can play. With this recruiting class we r in position for a great year

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