Pride of the Canes

Seigler selected by Yankees in 1st round of MLB draft

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There have been plenty of outstanding baseball players over the years to put on a New York Yankees pinstriped jersey.

From the stellar teams of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, to the likes of Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle, all the way through modern greats such as Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and including current stars Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez.

Anthony Seigler joined that list Monday night.

He slipped on the threads and a Yankees hat after New York selected the Cartersville catcher with the No. 23 overall pick in the first round of the MLB draft.

"It's just a great honor to be able to put on this jersey right here," Seigler said in an interview televised on MLB Network. "I mean, a lot of great players have come before me, especially that played [in Yankee Stadium]. Just hopefully in the future, playing on that field will be a huge honor."

Seigler is the second Cartersville High baseball player ever to be selected in the first round of the MLB draft (Donovan Tate was taken third overall in 2009 by the Padres), and the third Cartersville High athlete to be selected in the first round of a major professional sports draft (Ronnie Brown was selected second overall by the Dolphins in the 2005 NFL Draft.)

Seigler was the second catcher selected Monday after former Buford High and Georgia Tech backstop Joey Bart was taken second overall by the San Francisco Giants. Seigler and Bart played against each other when Seigler was a freshman in the Class 4A state semifinals in 2015.

It's expected that Seigler will choose the professional route having been taken in the first round. He could, in theory, go higher in subsequent years should he honor his college commitment to the Florida Gators. If he goes to Florida, he would not be eligible to be drafted again until 2021.

But the combination of a stellar spring and national interest in his wide-array of talents vaulted him into the 23rd-overall pick. While teams can choose to go above or below slot value, the Yankees' pick was assessed a value of $2,815,900.

According to MLB.com, in the six years with the current set of rules, "teams have outspent their allotments a total of 95 times, but never by more than 5 percent."

Seigler was one of six players to attend the draft show at MLB Network's studios in Secaucus, New Jersey. The network made the most of his unique set of skills, playing up his ambidextrous pitching ability in discussing the recent Cartersville High graduate.

However, even the analysts eventually conceded that Seigler projects as a catcher should he opt against going to Florida and sign with the Yankees organization prior to the July 6 deadline.

"Yes, he's going to be a catcher and I love all the swagger he's got, but he can catch and throw,"  MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds said during the broadcast. "The biggest frustration the Yankees have had right now is catching the ball and throwing. He does a great job of framing. ... He's a catcher at the end of the day. I think the pitching days might be over. When you throw like that and you can swing the bat from both sides, young man, you're going to be catching."

Said Baseball America's Carlos Collazo, "If he made it to college, he would be a fantastic player affecting the team behind the plate, on the mound, from both sides, but his pro future is going to be behind the plateHe has fantastic defensive tools, a strong arm. He was the starting catcher for USA Baseball's team last summer. He's really hit everywhere he's been. ... I really love this guy's work ethic, mentality and makeup."

Seigler showcased those intangibles throughout his high school career. As a four-year starter for the Canes, he contributed in any way he could to help Cartersville try to win.

It culminated in an incredible senior season, as Cartersville came up one victory shy of the Class 4A state championship, falling to Jefferson in a winner-take-all Game 3 on May 23 at State Mutual Stadium in Rome.

Seigler made sure to go out with a bang, though. He homered in his final at bat and went 3-for-8 with three walks, four runs scored and two RBIs in the championship series.

He also started Game 2 on the mound, earning the win. Pitching left-handed for the first time since March 9, Seigler allowed two earned runs in five innings with seven hits and three walks against six strikeouts.

In Game 1 of the state semifinals, Cartersville faced Heritage ace Cole Wilcox — a teammate of Seigler's on the USA Baseball team last fall. Seigler went 3-for-4 with the game-tying hit and go-ahead run in the victory over Wilcox.

Across a dozen postseason games, the do-everything Seigler hit a ridiculous .567 with a .723 on-base percentage and 1.433 slugging percentage. Twelve of his 17 hits went for extra bases, including six home runs. He added 16 walks and a hit-by-pitch, 20 runs scored and 15 RBIs to go along with zero strikeouts.

In total, Seigler racked up 100 total bases on the season across 38 games. He scored 52 runs, hit 13 home runs and drove in 34, while hitting to an outstanding .421/.587/.935 triple-slash line. He also drew 39 walks to six strikeouts and stole 16 bases in 19 attempts.