I called it! With their first pick in the draft tonight, 23rd overall, the Yankees picked Anthony Seigler. If you missed our draft preview from earlier, you can find it here. Seigler is a catcher from Cartersville High School in Georgia, and he has become famous for being both a switch-hitter and switch-pitcher. Sadly we will have to rely on high school videos to see that trick because with the Yankees he will be used strictly as a catcher. Here is some video from Baseball America:
A really cool profile by Zach Braziller in the New York Post talked about how Seigler developed his ambidextrousness and just how unique his versatility is. Matt Blood, the USA Baseball U-18 director said that Seigler “can literally do everything…I have never seen a guy like that.” And a former coach called Seigler “octopus.” At the very least, he becomes one of the most interesting prospects in the Yankee system.
Seigler was ranked 46th overall by MLB and 24th by Fangraphs. Here are the scouting reports from both places.
Seigler has gained notoriety as a switch-throwing pitcher who can throw in the upper 80s and is equally effective with either arm. He also switch-hits and is proficient from both sides of the plate, but his ambidextrousness shouldn’t overshadow the fact that he’s one of the best all-around catchers in the Draft. He could be the first high school backstop selected, perhaps even in the late first round.
Fellow Georgia prep product Will Banfield has louder defensive tools, but Seigler is solid behind the plate, a better hitter and played ahead of him on the U.S. national team that won the 18-and-under World Cup last September. He’s agile behind the plate, has a quick transfer that helps his arm play as plus at times and shows promise as a receiver and pitch framer. He’s more athletic than most catchers, along the lines of Austin Barnes, and could profile as an everyday second baseman as well.
Seigler makes consistent hard contact from both sides of the plate and employs an all-fields approach. There’s some question as to how much power he’ll have, but he has solid bat speed and should provide at least double-digit home run production once he gets stronger. The Florida recruit has close to average speed, making him quick for a catcher, and shows good instincts in all phases of the game.
There’s some risk in being a prep catcher that’s old for his class, but Seigler has great feel for the game, above-average athleticism, is a near finished product offensively and has plus defensive ability
Seigler was known entering summer showcase season as somewhat of an oddity: a switch-hitting, switch-throwing catcher who is also an ambidextrous reliever. As the summer wore on, Seigler was chosen as the backup catcher for Team USA and quickly took the starting job from fellow Georgia prep catcher, Will Banfield, due to his innate present feel for contact at the plate and receiving behind it.
This spring he’s steadily moved up boards, into the late first round area, because Seigler has been putting the bat on the ball and lifting it in games against top Georgia high school competition. Seigler is an average runner with an awkward gait, but even if he loses a step as he ages he’ll still be an above-average athlete for the position. Some teams don’t like the horrendous track record of prep catchers and have considered moving Seigler to an infield spot in pro ball, but most would not since he’s already so advanced, defensively. His plus arm and active framing and receiving reminds some of M.J. Melendez from last year’s draft, but Seigler is more advanced offensively, though a bit less twitchy. The Royals took Melendez last year and are the most interested team in Seigler, along with the Dodgers (who love multi-positional, athletic catchers), Braves and D’Backs. Seigler’s mother is Navajo. He’d be the first Native American big leaguer to debut since Joba Chamberlain and second ever Navajo, joining Jacoby Ellsbury.
My Take: Seigler was my personal choice for this pick and it was awesome seeing that he was the selection. I am definitely intrigued by how versatile he is because that speaks to his athleticism. Hopefully he continues to stay behind the plate and develops some more power as he comes up through the minor league system.