Pittsburgh Pirates: Don't Forget About Prospect Sammy Siani
|Photo Credit: Flickr/BeGreen90|
With the influx of talent, it's hard to keep track of all the players scattered across the minors for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It's even harder to do when that player isn't on the field at the moment, out currently with an injury.
The Pirates have a long history of manipulating the draft slotting system, going under value on some picks to save up and take a big swing at another talented player who was going to be difficult to sign.
That was the case in 2019, when they were actually able to sign first round pick Quinn Priester for just under slot value and use some of that savings to go over on their next pick, a prep outfielder by the name of Sammy Siani.
Entering the draft Siani was the 43rd ranked prospect on MLB Pipeline, the Pirates gave the outfielder a signing bonus of $2.15 million to forgo his commitment to Duke to start his professional career.
Siani got things going right away, playing in 39 games in the Gulf Coast League and posting a slash of .241/.372/.308. He recorded six extra base hits (3 2B, 3 3B), drove in nine runs and stole five bases. He also posted an impressive 15.88 BB% and a borderline worrisome 25 K%.
Regardless, Siani entered this season as the Pirates 11th ranked prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, mainly due to his approach at the plate and his ability to play center field.
Assigned to the Bradenton Marauders for the 2021 season, Siani was enjoying a solid year when he went down with an injury and hasn't played since July 14th.
He got off to a rough start, batting .182 in May with a .709 OPS in 19 games that month. He recorded seven extra base hits in that time, striking out 26 times but also drew 16 walks.
Warming up for the month of June, the 20-year old Siani exploded with a .270 average and posted a .992 OPS. He stole four bases, hit five home runs, drove in 17 runs and walked more (25) times than he struck out (19).
He was slumping in July when he got hurt (.420 OPS), giving him really one good month on the season and with only a handful of games left in the year, we have to wonder if that's the last we will see from Siani in 2021.
Overall, although the average wasn't ideal (.210 with Bradenton) and lower than what he posted in the GCL, you can start to see some consistency forming with Siani.
He has shown a great approach at the plate with his ability to draw a walk (combined 17.7 BB% in 2019 and 2021), but also is at a near worrisome number for his strikeout rate. We've seen this year Low-A batters struggle with strikeouts, and Siani's 25 K% isn't the worst but it also isn't the greatest.
Siani also showed progression in his power, something that Fangraphs said was a possibility with him despite his slight frame. He doesn't have a real projectable frame, which caused them to give an Adam Haseley type comparison, but his swing does have some natural lift to it, and has great bat speed - so it's a possibility the power keeps coming.
The center fielder improved his slugging percentage almost 100-points this year compared to his number in the GCL (.403 with Bradenton, .308 in the GCL). His eight home runs was among the best on the team at the time and nearly half of his hits went for extra bases.
If there was a concern about the surge in power would be that Siani became pull happy in order to find the power, hitting that way nearly half of the time (47.5%, compared to a 39.4%/24.5%/36.2% split in 2019).
From gathering information on him, the biggest key to Siani when it comes to his prospect status was going to be getting on the field. Fangraphs noted that his athletic ability was key to standing out among his piers in high school, and hinted at maybe a more limited upside.
They also said that they'd be willing to throw it out the window depending on how 2021 went.
In the mean time, MLB Pipeline dropped him out of their top 30 rankings, and Siani currently sits 31st on Fangraphs.
Siani remains an interesting prospect, one that isn't talked too much about due to him missing time with an injury and the emergence of other prospects in Bradenton. It doesn't seem like it would take too much to reclaim his prospect status, even in the loaded Pirates system.
If the walks and strikeouts remain the same going into next year, it wouldn't be hard to imagine his average improving and the more games he gets into the more likely we see closer to the Siani of this June than anything else.
The Pirates have added a lot of talent in the minors since they drafted Siani, so it might be easy to forget about the outfielder. When comparing Endy Rodriguez to some of the top outfield prospects on this site, Siani was left out.
He has already showed off some of the tools that could make him a successful major league hitter, and an approach at the plate that some at his level are still working on. The pieces are there, and heading into 2022 the statistic that may be the key to Siani, games played.
What are your thoughts on Siani? What do you think of his upside? Let us know in the comment section below, subscribe to the site with the link at the top and follow us on Twitter @MurphySportBlog and @__Murphy88.