Draft experience surreal for Canes’ Seigler


When Anthony Seigler toured Yankee Stadium on Monday, he thought about the possibility of joining arguably the most famous franchise in American sports.

Hours later, the New York Yankees selected the recent Cartersville High graduate with the No. 23 pick in the first round of the MLB draft.

"It did enter my mind," Seigler, who was in MLB Network's studios for the draft, said to a pool of reporters following the announcement. "If it happens, it happens, but I never knew it would come true."

About 875 miles away, Jamie Tucker knew it would come true. While watching coverage of the draft on her two-year wedding anniversary, she turned to her husband — Cartersville baseball coach Kyle Tucker — and let him know Seigler would be chosen soon.

"It was my wife and I's anniversary, but we were just hanging out and we had our eye on it," Kyle Tucker said of the draft. "She said, 'We got to be there when the Yankees pick. He's going to the Yankees.' It was like at pick 18, and she said, 'He's going to the Yankees at 23.' So when they called his name, we were watching it live. It was really cool. That was a great moment.

"I mean, it's the New York Yankees. Seeing him put on the hat and the jersey, it's surreal. It really hasn't sunk in with me yet. I'm sure it hasn't with him. I'm just happy for him and as proud as can be of him."

Tucker said it was great watching Seigler handle the interviews after being drafted Monday and again when he flipped on SportsCenter Tuesday morning. The 18-year-old catcher handled the questions with the same poise that made him a top draft pick.

"Just very impressed, but also not surprised," Tucker said of how Seigler handled the media. "He's just so well-prepared in everything. I'm sure it wasn't a surprise, as far as this night wasn't something that snuck up on him. What I mean by that is I'm sure he's prepared for that part of it as well."

After the media storm dies down, Seigler will be left with a decision. As exciting as it is to be drafted in the first round, he still could opt to go the college route and play for the Florida Gators.

When asked about it Monday night, Seigler chose his words carefully but seemed to indicate that signing with New York was his preferred option.

"I hope to, I mean, like I said, 'Whatever happens, happens,'" Seigler said. "God's got a future for me. I'm just going to keep it in His hands, and whatever He wants to do with me He will."

It makes sense on several levels that Seigler would want to sign with the Yankees. Having been chose 23rd overall, the slot value for his pick was just over $2.8 million. There's also the ability to fulfill a childhood dream of playing for the Yankees.

"I've always wanted to," Seigler said. "Since I was a little boy, I've known the Yankees were a great team. Just being able to put on this jersey, and hopefully being able to play with them in the future is a huge honor."

New York will clearly do whatever it takes to sign Seigler. It's clear the team is excited about the prospect of adding him to its farm system, which currently has zero catchers among the top 30 prospects. (Although, the Yankees did select another catcher in the second round.)

"The thing that attracts you to Seigler is that he has the tools to catch, and he's a switch-hitter, which makes him a unique commodity," Damon Oppenheimer, Yankees Vice President of Domestic Amateur Scouting, was quoted as saying in a tweet from Marc Craig of The Athletic New York. "He's showing power from both sides of the plate, has really great instincts for baseball, a plus-arm and runs well for a catcher. On top of that, he's proven to be versatile, with his ability to play other positions. Seigler's got top of the line makeup. We're very happy about him."

Seigler seems quite happy with his landing spot. Prior to the draft, he wasn't shy about stating how much it would mean to be a first-round selection. He reiterated that feeling after it became official he had joined an elite fraternity, which includes just one other Cartersville player (Donavan Tate in 2009).

"It's everybody's dream to be a first-round pick," Seigler said. "I still had that in my mind. I wanted to be a first-round draft pick. That kind of helped me and motivated me this season to show my skills and do what I did this year."

That mammoth senior season, complete with a .421 batting average, 13 home runs and 34 RBIs, helped vault him up draft boards. Couple that with his intriguing abilities to pitch with either arm, play multiple positions and switch-hit, it's no surprise he was one of only six players on hand at the studios.

"I mean, why not?" Seigler said about attending the draft. "If you get the invitation, you only get to do this one time, so why not come up here and spend the time with your family and get to know other people too. It was a no-doubter for me."

And it created a memory Tucker knows will stick with Seigler forever.

"What a great experience to be there in the studio," Tucker said, "they call your name in the first round and go to the most storied franchise in the history of the sport."