Reds Prospect Michael Siani Is an Older Brother With Still-Developing Skills

Michael Siani isn’t the sexiest prospect in the Cincinnati Reds system. With an arguably-limited offensive profile, the 21-year-old outfielder projects, in the words of Eric Longenhagen, as “a low-end regular in center field based on the quality of his defense.” In Longenhagen’s opinion, Siani will likely “end up hitting toward the bottom of a lineup” due to a lack of power.

Siani isn’t sold on the idea that he’ll continue to lack sufficient pop. At 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, the No. 10 prospect in the Cincinnati system will never be a bona fide bopper — plus wheels will remain his calling card — but he’s also not about to sell himself short. Asked about his power potential, the oldest of three baseball-playing brothers pointed to his age, adding that his game is still developing. While striving to be a “consistent, gap-to-gap hitter” is his primary goal, settling for a low ceiling is by no means the plan.

Growing up, the plan was for Siani to attend public school in the Philadelphia area. Instead, he ended up matriculating from Ruben Amaro Jr.’s alma mater. Recruited in the seventh grade to play baseball, Siani spent his formative years at William Penn Charter School — founded in 1689 — before the Reds took him in the fourth round of the 2018 draft.

Siani’s siblings followed him to the world’s oldest Quaker school, and one of them has subsequently joined him in pro ball, with another poised to follow. Sam Siani was selected 37th overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2019, while Jake is a high-school senior slated to play at Johns Hopkins University.

With brotherly love in mind, I asked Siani how the three — all left-handed-hitting, left-handed-throwing outfielders — compare skills-wise. I started with speed and power.

“I would like to say I’m the fastest,” Siani said. “My middle brother, Sam, would like to say he is. If you put us up against each other in a race, that would probably solve it, but I think I have him by a little bit. [Power] is pretty even between Sam and me. Again, I would like to say myself, and Sam would probably say himself. That one’s pretty close.”

Siani also feels that he has the strongest arm, although he acknowledges that Sam has improved in that regard and isn’t far behind. And then there’s the younger brother, who is coming fast.

“Jake has pitched a little bit in high school and has a really good arm,” said Siani. “His speed is getting better as well, so he could catch up in that area, too. I guess we’ll see. He’s still got a lot of time left to develop. College will do him well.”

Siani had committed to the University of Virginia before opting to sign with the team that once employed Cesar Geronimo. The elder of the Siani brothers admits to not being familiar with the Big Red Machine stalwart — Geronimo was a speedy, left-left center fielder with a rocket arm — but he has heard a few heady comps.

Jim Edmonds is one,” said Siani, whom Baseball America has said has “Gold Glove potential.” “And I like watching Kevin Kiermaier play. He’s right handed, but just defensively, and with the arm, I guess we’re similar. Jackie Bradley Jr. is a good one, too. He’s also a right-handed thrower, but he does swing left-handed. He can really go get it.”

That’s what Siani does better than anything, which is why defense is considered his ticket to the big leagues. How well he progresses offensively is the big question, and again, he aspires to be more than just a singles-hitting table setter, or a bottom-of-the-order bat.

“I definitely wouldn’t say that slapping the ball is what I’m trying to do,” said Siani, who homered six times and swiped 45 bases with low-A Dayton in 2019. “To me, it’s about consistently hitting the ball hard all over the place. That’s the goal. Obviously, I can run. Obviously, I can steal bases. But I’m not going to give up my power just to slap the ball and get on base. There’s a lot of money to be made with hitting the ball hard all around the field. That’s what I want to do.”

David Laurila grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and now writes about baseball from his home in Cambridge, Mass. He authored the Prospectus Q&A series at Baseball Prospectus from December 2006-May 2011 before being claimed off waivers by FanGraphs. He can be followed on Twitter @DavidLaurilaQA.

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You know Geronimo was pretty darn good.

Edit: let me rephrase that. You know, Geronimo was pretty darn successful.

Also, what happened to his defensive values after 1975?