Yankees draft athletic, switch-hitting catcher in first round

The Yankees’ loaded roster and stocked minor league system was already the envy of most of Major League Baseball. Now they have something else nobody in the game has: A switch-hitting and switch-pitching catching prospect.

With their first-round pick (23rd overall) in Monday night’s draft, the Yankees selected Anthony Seigler, the ambidextrous high school prospect from Georgia who played his way into the first round following a sterling spring. Seigler, who is committed to Florida if he doesn’t go pro, pitches with both arms — he tops out at 90 mph from the right side and the mid-80s as a lefty — and can play infield and outfield, though he was drafted for his catching ability and switch-hitting skills.

“It’s a huge honor,” said the 18-year-old Seigler, who attended the draft in Secaucus, N.J., his first trip to the New York City area. “I’m really blessed to be here and I’m really thankful to be able to put this jersey on and carry on a legacy.

“I just can’t wait to get it started. I’m just ready to get out on the field and start playing, getting in the work.”

In the second round, with the 61st overall pick, the Yankees drafted another catcher, Josh Breaux of McLennan Community College in Texas, adding to a position of need in the minor leagues.

Seigler said he will likely sign with the Yankees rather than attend college. He worked out for them over the weekend in Tampa and scouting director Damon Oppenheimer saw him three times this spring in Georgia, when he led Cartersville High School to the 4A state championship series.

“We feel we are getting a commodity of a switch-hitting catcher who can really hit from both sides,” Oppenheimer said. “He has a plus arm and very good hands to be a plus catcher. He runs well for a catcher and has great instincts.”

On the mound, the 6-foot, 200-pound multi-talented prospect pitched to a 1.09 ERA over 25 ²/₃ innings, striking out 29 and walking four. At the plate, he hit .421 with 25 extra-base hits and 13 home runs. He also stole 13 bases in 19 attempts and threw out 12 of 21 would-be base-stealers.

“He does everything pretty well,” a scout who saw him this spring said. “I don’t know that he has any top-of-the-scale tools, but he’s a balanced guy.”

Seigler wasn’t considered a first-round prospect until the last calendar year, when he helped USA Baseball’s 18-and-under team win the 2017 Baseball World Cup. His play carried over into the spring, where he further impressed scouts with his play behind the plate and live bat.

“It’s everybody’s dream to be a first-round pick. I wanted to be a first-round pick,” he said. “That motivated me this season to show my skills.”

Hours before he was selected, Seigler and the other prospects who attended the draft toured Yankee Stadium, and his mind wandered about a potential future in pinstripes.

“Just hopeful I could get drafted by them,” he said. “I felt like there was a chance.”

He’ll get to return soon, as most top picks do. Seigler knows what he wants to see.

“Aaron Judge, I have to meet him,” he said. “I want to see him take some BP. I would love that.”

additional reporting by George A. King III

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