In 2021 Michael Siani had a down year, posting a .648 OPS in High-A Dayton. Following the regular season the Cincinnati Reds sent him out to the Arizona Fall League and he looked like a different player in limited action.

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With a strong showing in the AFL to cap 2021, the Reds sent Michael Siani to Double-A Chattanooga to begin the 2022 season. He would start of the year in a big way, hitting .417 with four extra-base hits and more walks than strikeouts in the first seven games of the year. He would go into a bit of a slump after that for the next two weeks, picking up hits in just four of the next 12 games to round out the month of April.

Things picked up when May began. Over the first 12 games he hit .300 with just five strikeouts and he stole 11 bases in that span. But much like in April, he went into a slump during the second half of the month as he hit just .174 with just one stolen base over the final 12 games of May.

The first three weeks of June went well for the then 22-year-old outfielder as he put up an .870 OPS with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. During that stretch he also hit his 7th homer of the season – setting a new career high. But over the final week of the month he went 1-20.

In what seemed to be a pattern, once the calendar flipped over, Siani went right on back to hitting. In the first nine games of July he went 12-34 (.353). Over the next (and final) 13 games of July things slowed down as he went 8-44 (.182), but did walk nearly as often as he struck out and did pick up eight more stolen bases.

The first week of August went well for Siani as he hit .261 with nine walks in six games played. A slump would follow in the next week as he hit just .100 – though he walked seven times in those six games played. From there, though, he’d go on a bit of a tear for the next three-and-a-half weeks, hitting .304/.361/.570 for the Lookouts. That led to a promotion to Triple-A Louisville on September 13th. He’d spend eight games there before being promoted to join the big league club for the final two weeks of the season where he would go 4-24.

For all 2022 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Michael Siani Scouting Report

Position: Outfield | B/T: L/L

Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 188 lbs | Acquired: 4th round, 2018 Draft

Born: July 16, 1999

Hitting | He has a below-average hit tool.

Power | He has below-average power.

Speed | Siani has plus speed.

Defense | He’s a plus defender.

Arm | He has an above-average arm.

The reports on Michael Siani have long been that he’s an elite defender in center while showing plus speed on the bases that he knows how to use well, but that his bat was well behind those things. While the bat still remains behind, it took some good steps forward in the 2022 season.

Siani began to show better plate discipline and pitch recognition in Arizona in 2021 and that carried forward. It led to what was easily the best offensive season he’s had in his career, where he hit for a solid average and more than doubled his previous career high in home runs. While his bat still projects to be below-average, it’s a safer bet today than it’s ever been.

Defensively, Michael Siani is a difference maker. He’s got Gold Glove potential thanks to outstanding range, athleticism, and a strong arm that really sticks out in center.

The upside with Siani is that he can be a solid, even if a little below-average hitter for a center fielder who will provide plenty of value on the bases and be a plus defender. There’s quality starter upside in that kind of profile. He will need to become a little more consistent at the plate, and he’s likely going to need to spend some time in Triple-A before he’s ready to take on a full time role in the big leagues, but he should be considered close to big league ready.

If his bat doesn’t continue development, then the profile is there for a quality 4th/5th outfielder. The defense and the speed will play well off of the bench if and when you need it.

Michael Siani Spray Chart

This spray chart is only for his time in the minor leagues

Interesting Stat on Michael Siani

While his splits in 2022 were nearly identical in terms of OPS (.731 to .728), how he got to them was very different. All 14 of his home runs came against right-handed pitching, but he hit just .241/.317/.414 against righties. Against lefties he didn’t show any power at all, hitting .274 and slugging just .325. But he also walked 22 times with just 23 strikeouts against lefties, giving him a .403 on-base percentage against them.

30 Responses

    • Tom

      Maybe not, though. He will surely be stronger than Billy over the next 10 years. I’d not rush him. Temptation will be there to bring him up before September, but he probably needs another year in the minors. For me, he’s got an inside track to starting CF in 2024. Gotta perform first though.

  1. BK

    Last December, Friedl’s defensive tool was rated “above average.” Defensive metrics have shown him below average at all three positions in the outfield in his young career which match my very untrained observations. While he wasn’t ever rated by RML, Fraley, in minor league scouting reports, was consistently rated “above average to plus” as a defender. Similar to Friedl, defensive metrics show him below average at the Major League level.

    I would think that defense would be among the easiest tools to grade. Is the speed of the game at the MLB level just that much faster for defenders than AAA or AA? I get why hitting is hard to scout, but what makes scouting defense so challenging?

    • Doug Gray

      Defensive metrics suck, but let’s also point out that Friedl’s not played nearly enough for his defensive metrics to actually be reliable. The general consensus is that you need 2-3 full years of defensive data to have it be remotely reliable.

      • BK

        Thanks, but you didn’t answer my question. Is defense difficult to scout? Is there a big adjustment in the speed of play defensively at the MLB level compared to the upper minors?

        As for defensive metrics, data analysis improves with sample size for any data set. For quantitative analysis, a metric should have a sample size where the underlying model (formula) becomes valid. Do you know the threshold where some of the more commonly used defensive metrics become valid?

      • Doug Gray

        For some offensive and pitching stats we’re talking like 50-100 plate appearances before we start seeing true skillset.

        The question you asked about scouting defense is impossible to really answer. Either you believe the scouting report or you don’t. The defensive stats aren’t good, and if that’s the “counter” to the scouting report….

      • BK

        Just to add, my point about defensive metrics is that if it really takes two to three seasons of data to deliver valid results, then the underlying model is worthless from a predictive standpoint. It’s hard to believe with the ability to measure every detail of how a player responds defensively that baseball would have the ability to effectively model defense.

  2. Matt

    Hopefully he starts at AAA. Likely will, given the other personnel available for the OF. Making a similar jump that he did from 21 to 22 would be awesome to see. A season of 350 OBP and 12% BB rate (his Chattanooga numbers) would have put him 12th and 8th respectively among MLB players with >500 PAs last season. Hopefully his defense sticks in center though, cause the power isn’t exactly corner outfielder power.

    • Tom

      He should benefit from the new rules against the shift when he gets to MLB, which might keep his OBP in that range.
      I see the reasons to be skeptical on Siani, but he’s really hung in there in a “just in time” way. No reason to crush his future prospects at this point. Could be a nice bench bat for 1-2 years, then turn in a 4+ WAR season in 2027 or something during a pennant chase killing flys all year for Greene and Lodolo, etc.

  3. Optimist

    Reds really need to show discipline on the callups this year. It’s good he got a brief callup last season, and he has a big opportunity to get a fast start in AAA, but otherwise he’s on the list for a late season return to MLB. Including the pitchers, there are a solid 6-8 players competing for the first callup, which should be in June. Unless there is a big flop, or obvious breakout, all of them should have MLB roster time by season’s end.

    • Stock

      I don’t mind McGarry, Siani, Williamson, Stoudt, Karcher and whatever other reliever you name to be called up in June.

      But because of the new collective bargaining agreement I would like EDLC, McLain and other potential superstars to be held in the minors until opening day 2024.

      • Optimist

        Pitchers are a different category since they can ride the bus back and forth to AAA as needed for brief fill-in roles. Unless they’re setting a rotation regime for a starter, the days between appearances are easier to work around.

        As for the hitters, the more PAs in AAA the better. If one of them is posting a fabulous line for the first 6-8 weeks, call them up – IIRC the last two to do so were VanMeter and Lopez. Otherwise, get everyday play in AAA.

      • MBS

        I don’t know why everyone is sleeping on McGarry. He was easily the best surprise of 22 for me. Not only did he have 27 HR’s, and a .859 OPS, but he is also the leading answer to the question of who replaces JV in 24. Imo at least. Sure his K rate needs to come down, but that’s the case with a lot of other prospects. I’d treat McGarry with as much care as any of our top 10 prospects.

      • Doug Gray

        I’d say that Christian Encarnacion-Strand is more likely to be Votto’s replacement (assuming he gets slid to first for one of the shortstops sliding to third).

        McGarry could certainly work his way in there, and the fact that he’s also got some outfield experience, AND the NL having the DH now really could work in his favor when it comes to getting playing time if things do play out that way.

      • MBS

        I hear you Doug, I know CES is higher rated as a hitter. The fact that McGarry is an actual 1B, and has the ideal body, and handedness puts him over CES in my books as the 1B.

        CES is a 3B, and until mid year, was not considered much of a fielder. The DH spot is my fit for CES if Steer, or one of the SS take over 3B.

        You did mention McGarry’s OF ability. I’m not that familiar it, but if he could play legit D in the OF, that could be a big deal for the Reds considering our lack of quality outfielders in the Majors or minors.

      • Greenfield Red

        What worries me about McGarry is the poor 2nd half. Without looking it up, I think his OPS was about .950 in the 1st half of 22.

  4. Ian Riddell

    Why not rush him and other prospects? Aside from service time stuff, wouldn’t facing the best make you better? It is a confidence thing? The reds don’t seem to be terribly interested in winning right now.

    • Tom

      I think my concern is that the need at the mlb level along with the impatience can lead to overlooking the weaknesses that will probably short circuit the player sooner than later. Confidence then become the issue. I’d rather a player feel almost disrespected when he shows up than under an illusion.

      • Optimist

        It’s also a team game, and we saw last year what happens when you have 2 or 3 or more holes in a lineup. Just kills an offense, and plays havoc on the pitching staff to keep up. Even the best teams can have difficulty working 2 rookies into regular plate time.

    • BK

      Why? Because learning is a process. Fundamental principles are easier to apply in simpler settings than advanced ones. As an extreme example, how would a T-Ball player do against high school players? Promote them when they have demonstrated mastery at AAA; that is when they are as well-prepared as possible for the advanced competition. And yes, confidence absolutely makes a huge difference in human performance.

      • Stock

        I don’t mind McGarry, Siani, Williamson, Stoudt, Karcher and whatever other reliever you name to be called up in June.

        But because of the new collective bargaining agreement I would like EDLC, McLain and other potential superstars to be held in the minors until opening day 2024.

    • DaveCT

      I couldn’t agree with Optimist (above) more. in addition, to rush a kid should require a truly compelling reason, such as the Royals promoting Brandon Finnegan in their pennant race. Otherwise, it is optimal to promote when the kid is ready, when there is need, or when their talent requires the next step of development.

      Several have noted over the last year or so that Siani’s 2021 season was likely harmed by that shoulder injury quite a bit ( those shoulder problems are just plain tough). Doug’s analysis above also mentions consistency which has also been discussed here a lot. He has usually seems like a streaky hitter to me. If Siani can level his numbers off a bit more week to week, month to month, I agree he can be a ML regular with that defense. Kevin Kiermaier comes to mind. That’s a great value in the 4th round, even if overslot.

  5. MBS

    I don’t see the need to rush Siani, he could definitely use some time in AAA. Technically I wouldn’t rush anyone, but I don’t believe in holding people back to fit your perception of how long it should take to be ready. It would be nice to have a CF play CF for us eventually.

  6. MK

    I can not imagine any harm coming to any prospect getting a September call-up. It is a reward for hard work and a descent season. His time in the majors was not a complete bust. He didn’t go 0 for 24. Willie Mays went 1 for 25 out of the gate and he wasn’t destroyed. I imagine Siani thought the whole thing was beneficial.

    Siani had a nice, not spectacular regular season and got the chance to see what he was working for. In addition he made more money in a month than he had in all his minor league salaries combined.

  7. RedsGettingBetter

    Could we say that Siani is like a kind of Jankowski player but having more power at bat?

      • Jonathan

        @DaveCT – thats pretty good then. Isn’t Kevin K a 2 time GG winner? So probably better than Drew Stubbs?