Hudson Valley Sports Report

RENEGADES’ SIEGLER GETTING INTO SWING OF THINGS

Prospect Back On The Field After Health Issues

 

By Philip Sanzo

Special to HVSR

@Philip_Sanzo

FISHKILL – Leading up to a game last week between the Hudson Valley Renegades and the Jersey Shore BlueClaws, Anthony Seigler found himself up the right field foul line working on his catching with defensive coach Aaron Bossi.

With his back to a protective net, Seigler squats — or more appropriately kneels, employing the one knee on the ground technique that many catchers have recently adopted — and takes pitches from a machine about 30 feet in front of him.

Let’s just say he’s loose.

Music blares from his speaker; it’s not loud enough to be a disturbance, but it’s just loud enough for Seigler to enjoy it.

He vibes to Lil Uzi Vert’s “I Can Show You,” offering up a verse here and there while bobbing his head and stretching his body. When taking pitches from the machine he makes sure to blurt out “It’s 2 A.M.,” a signature verse from King Von’s song “2 A.M.”

For more than two weeks, Seigler has been an active ball player. Before June 1 he was stuck on the bench recovering from an injury that placed him on the 7-day Injured List for the first month of the season.

Seigler was drafted by the New York Yankees with the 23rd overall pick in the first round of the 2018 draft out of Cartersville High School in Cartersville, Georgia. Along with teammate Josh Breaux and current Low-A Tampa Tarpon player Austin Wells, Seigler is a major catching prospect for the Yankees.

Naturally, sitting out that first month of the season was rough on the 21-year-old.

“It didn’t feel good obviously, but you have to do what you can and do as much as you can with the time that you got,” Seigler said. “I was here with my boys, always cheering them on and doing what I can for each and every one of them.”

Since coming off the IL, Seigler has had 48 plate appearances, seven of which have resulted in hits, three of those being doubles. His batting average, sitting at .167, is subpar, but typical of a hitter getting used to the speed of the game. In each of his first two professional seasons, Seigler hasn’t played more than 30 games. In 2021 he has the opportunity to almost triple that number.

“I just want to be on the field every day, and just stay on the field honestly,” Seigler said. “Average, hitting, I’m not really worried about all of that. That will come. But me just staying healthy and doing what I can to stay on the field is my big thing this year.”

After spending time with his family in Georgia in the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Seigler got a place in Tampa, Florida, and began working with other ball players at Diesel Fitness. One of his biggest takeaways was the importance of a routine.

“Getting in my routine and taking care of my body a lot more,” he said. “A lot of different stuff that I just felt like I missed in the first two years.”

While Seigler works on his own game, he serves as a counterpart to some of the organization’s top pitching prospects. He’s already caught Luis Medina and Ken Waldichuk, two Hudson Valley starters who were called up to AA Somerset last week. While both Medina and Waldichuk have turned heads, they have yet to reach the stature of Seigler’s battery mate on June 12: Luis Severino.

An All-Star for the Yankees, Severino has been on the IL for over a year, recovering from a Tommy John surgery he had in his right elbow. June 12 was his first rehab start on his way back to the Bronx.

“It was amazing to just be able to get back there and catch him,” Seigler said. “He knew where everything was going and was locating everything really well. He was just having a great outing out there and just to see how everything went down, it was just hard to see.”

Severino’s return to the diamond was cut short when in the second inning he pulled his groin muscle while delivering a pitch. The injury turned out to be a grade 2 groin strain, putting his return to the Yankees on hold.

Whether it be catching a past All-Star or a future one, Seigler tries to remain even-keeled. That doesn’t mean he takes his job lightly; when he’s on the field he’s all business.

In the seventh inning of game two of Friday’s doubleheader against the BlueClaws, Seigler picked off Herbert Iser with a snap throw to first to help preserve the Renegades’ narrow 2-0 lead. The catcher followed up the play with a big fist pump and a scream.

But he doesn’t allow the stress of his job to dominate his mentality.

“There’s no reason to be tense or stressed out and all that,” he said. “That’s with anything in life in general. Nothing is going to come out of you being stressed or just worked up or anxious about anything. The more you can be relaxed throughout the day, the more you can just move through the day, not necessarily with no cares, but just doing what you need to do.”

Working closely with Seigler is some of his strongest competition, catcher Josh Breaux. Breaux is ranked 19th in the Yankees organization while Seigler comes in at 22nd according to MLB.com.

“Big Boshy, AKA Lunch Box, I love him,” Seigler said of Breaux.

“We’re great, we’re cool, we’re really tight, I love the dude. We have a really good relationship on and off the field.”

There’s competition between the two, but a friendly one, like you would typically see between teammates.

Seigler had a special guest in attendance for Friday’s game, his dad, Todd. The two speak almost daily and Todd is always the first person Seigler goes to in order to break down his swing. Friday was the second time his dad has gotten to see him play this season. So, was Anthony nervous?

“It’s never stressful,” Seigler said. “It’s just baseball.”

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