The Yankees have seen Anthony Seigler do it all on a baseball diamond, awed by his ability to not only switch-hit, but to switch-pitch. Seeing the Georgia high schooler's future behind the plate, they made him their first-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, going 23rd overall on Monday evening.•
The Yankees have seen Anthony Seigler do it all on a baseball diamond, awed by his ability to not only switch-hit, but to switch-pitch. Seeing the Georgia high schooler's future behind the plate, they made him their first-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, going 23rd overall on Monday evening.
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Though Seigler has dominated with both arms from the mound, the Yankees identified the 18-year-old as a catcher when they announced their selection on Monday. Sporting a shaggy haircut and flashy shoes, Seigler beamed as he donned the pinstripes in MLB Network's Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J.
"There's no doubt in my mind that I'm definitely going to sign with the Yankees," Seigler said. "This is a no-brainer for me. Just being able to hear my name called out is a great honor, and then for it to be with the Yankees, too, it was just unbelievable."
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New York selected another catcher in the second round, taking Josh Breaux with the 61st overall pick. Breaux, from McLennan Community College (Texas), is a 20-year-old slugger with a rocket arm who was previously selected by the Astros in last year's 37th round.
Seigler was among a group of prospects who were invited to tour Yankee Stadium on Monday, and said that he envisioned taking that field in pinstripes. Though he has been throwing with both hands since he was about 3 years old -- Seigler didn't realize that it was a unique trait until years later.
Wearing a six-finger glove similar to that worn by former Yankees draftee Pat Venditte, Seigler has been clocked at 90 mph as a right-hander and in the mid 80s as a left-hander.
"I honestly thought it was normal for everybody to do it," said Seigler, who had a 1.09 ERA in 25 2/3 innings this year. "I probably noticed maybe at like 10 or 11 years old when I started noticing some people are just one side."
Seigler's ambidexterity should not overshadow his place as one of the best all-around catchers in this year's Draft class; the 6-foot, 200-pound Cartersville, Ga., product was rated as the No. 46 prospect in the Draft by MLB Pipeline.
Scouts see Seigler as solid and agile behind the plate, with a quick transfer that helps his arm play as plus at times, with promise as a receiver and pitch-framer. Seigler threw out 12 of 21 attempted basestealers this season. Some believe that Seigler could also succeed at second base or third base.
The University of Florida recruit makes consistent hard contact from both sides of the plate, employing an all-fields approach with some speed. He batted .421 with 14 homers and 34 RBIs in 107 at-bats this season and homered in his final high school at-bat, leading Cartersville to the 4A state championship series.
"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," said Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees' vice president of domestic amateur scouting. "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."
Following his selection, Seigler warmly embraced his father, Todd, a former high school baseball coach who is a teacher at Cartersville High.
"I'm just very excited," Seigler said. "I can't wait to get it started. I'm just ready to get out on the field and start playing and getting to work with them."
Since the inception of the MLB Draft, the top players selected 23rd overall all-time according to WAR are Jason Kendall (41.7), Jacoby Ellsbury (31.1), Mo Vaughn (27.2) and Aaron Sele (20.3). Phil Hughes (10.8) was selected 23rd overall by the Yankees in 2004.
Breaux, 20, batted .404/.532/.831 with 18 home runs and 82 RBIs in 56 games, showing off an exceptional arm that has approached 100 mph from the mound. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound native of Tomball, Texas, elected to return to school after being selected by the Astros; his brother, Joe, was selected last year by the Phillies.
"Josh Breaux is another guy with a really good makeup," Oppenheimer said. "He's still young as a junior college guy, but his arm is huge and he has raw power. His ability to hit has really matured this year. With Breaux, we think we have an impact tools guy who's a catcher. You're talking about a big, strong player who shows up, and people understand right away why you took him."
Breaux's selection was announced by Nick Swisher, who attended the Draft as a Yankees club representative. Swisher is currently serving as a special assistant to general manager Brian Cashman.
New York's most recent top first-round picks have been outfielder Aaron Judge (32nd overall in 2013), right-hander James Kaprielian (16th overall in 2015), outfielder Blake Rutherford (18th overall in 2016) and right-hander Clarke Schmidt (16th overall in 2017).
The Draft continues today with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.