A quick perusal of Mike Siani’s professional baseball career shows that he was a 4th round pick of the Cincinnati Reds back in 2018. Aside from Paul O’Neill back in 1981, there have not been many ‘hits’ with 4th round picks for the Reds, with Sam LeCure and his 2.6 career bWAR the lone real exception in that time.
That said, Siani was no average 4th round pick. The $2 million signing bonus it took to get him to turn pro indicated a) how valued he was at the time and b) how tough it was going to be to get him to forego his commitment to the University of Virginia, and he held the kind of talent at that time that had him potentially getting selected much earlier. The signing bonus indicated the Reds desire to get him under contract, as that signing bonus still stands as five times more than Kenya Huggins, their 4th rounder this year, received.
Siani’s combination of speed and defense carried him through his early days in the Reds system, but a bit of a revamped swing finally brought some much needed pop to his game during the 2022 season. That propelled him through AA Chattanooga and on to AAA Louisville, and given injuries and the roster cull in front of him, it’s now Siani’s chance to show what he can do at the big league level. The Reds selected his contract today to join them for the final two weeks of the regular season, doing so after the placement of Nick Senzel on the 10-day IL freed up a roster spot.
Welcome to The Show, Michael Siani!— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 21, 2022
The #Reds have selected the contract of Siani from Triple-A Louisville and placed OF Nick Senzel (left sesmoid fracture) on the 10-day injured list. A 4th-round pick in 2018, Siani had 40 XBH and stole 53 bases in the minors this year. pic.twitter.com/3DWXRVzWPg
Siani has hit .252/.345/.405 in 569 PA between AA-AAA so far this year, though his 52 steals and elite CF defense are much more of his calling-card. Hopefully he can leverage the short porch in RF a bit while in GABP and let that new-found pop-burst percolate at the big league level now, too.
Siani’s welcome to the show is, of course, courtesy of yet another injury to Nick Senzel, one that will effectively end his season for the [insert every season he’s been a pro]. Senzel finally stayed healthy-ish this season in logging 420 PA - his most ever in the bigs - but that spate of good health didn’t coincide with the kind of step-forward offensively that most of us had pined for since he was drafted 2nd overall. He posted just a .601 OPS, and that paired with some oddly terrible baserunning left him valued at a dismal -1.1 bWAR and -0.7 fWAR.
Considering he’ll be arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter, that’s not exactly the platform year anyone hoped for out of Nick. Normally speaking, that’s not the kind of production you see from players who get tendered contracts during their arb years at all, though that suboptimal display will dent his pay-raise enough to where he probably, probably won’t get non-tendered even by the incredibly frugal Reds. Where he fits in the shallow OF mix going forward, though, still remains an incredibly frustrating question.
Who knows, maybe this is the beginning of Siani staking his claim as the CF of the future and present. We’ll get to find out beginning tonight!