The Surprise Saguaros have been, well, surprising. The Saguaros are 8-3 in the Arizona Fall League, and three of the Cincinnati Reds top prospects are a big reason why. Michael Siani's performance at the dish, however, might be the biggest surprise in the AFL.
Siani went 4-for-4 last night in Surprise's 11-2 victory over Scottsdale. The left-handed hitting outfielder had two singles, a double, a home run, and two walks on the evening.
Reds prospect Michael Siani needs continued development.
The Arizona Fall League is where a lot of major league players cut their teeth. We saw Tyler Stephenson excel in the AFL after the 2019 season. The Reds are hoping for similar results from Siani.
If there's a void in the Reds farm system, it's definitely in center field. José Siri is now in Houston and Nick Senzel hasn't panned out since making the switch from third base to the outfield.
The Reds 2020 first-round pick Austin Hendrick could play center field, but that seems like a stretch. The former Pennsylvania high school star seems ticketed for a corner outfield spot in the future.
The Reds best in-house option to play center field in 2022 is probably Tyler Naquin, but that's assuming the former Cleveland Indians first-round pick doesn't end up in right field following the likely departure of Nick Castellanos.
The lack of a 2020 minor league season really slowed Michael Siani's development, though he did get some work at the team's alternate site in Mason, Ohio last year.
Siani only hit .216 for the High-A Dayton Dragons in 2021. However, his 12.3% walk-rate and .321 on-base percentage showed that Siani gained a better understanding of the strike zone.
The Reds do not need Siani to be a power-hitting centerfielder, but he does need to put the ball in play and allow his speed to be on display.
Unfortunately, with each promotion up the ladder, Siani's batting average has taken a hit. In Rookie Ball, Siani hit .288. That average dropped to .253 while playing at the Low-A level in 2019, and tumbled even further to .216 at High-A this season.
Siani's play in the AFL is encouraging. If he can carry over that 1.067 OPS to next season, we'll Siani in the bigs before you can blink.
In all likelihood, Michael Siani will begin next season at Double-A Chattanooga. How long he stays at that level will have a lot to do with how well he hits.