Joe Panik (All-Star season: 2015; Mets career: 2019)
Panik is one of those random Mets utility infielders that I’ve developed a soft spot for over the years. He came to the Mets in the middle of the 2019 season, after Robinson Cano went on the injured list and they needed some help at second base. When the San Francisco Giants designated Panik for assignment on Aug. 7, the Mets quickly snatched him up.
Panik was never a flashy player, but he built a solid reputation for himself over six years in San Francisco. He debuted in 2014 and helped the Giants win their third World Series title in five years, finishing sixth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting (the same year that Jacob deGrom took home the award) and hitting .305 over 79 games. Panik was an All-Star the following year and won a Gold Glove at second base in 2016.
His very first game in Flushing was a wild one -- Aug. 9, 2019, when the Mets came back from three runs down vs. the Nationals in the ninth thanks to a home run from Todd Frazier and a walk-off hit from Michael Conforto. Panik played a role in that electric comeback, notching a hit in that thrilling ninth inning.
He also delivered a big blow in the season finale, a back-and-forth affair vs. the Atlanta Braves that ended with Dom Smith blasting a walk-off home run in his first at-bat off the injured list. In the bottom of the eighth, with the game tied 3-3, Panik belted a solo homer that, briefly, gave the Mets the lead, though the game ultimately went 11 innings.
I might be biased here, but Panik is the only player on this list that actually exceeded my expectations while with the Mets. He was a solid fill-in at second and consistently made contact at the plate. I wish him well.