PG A-A Seigler boosts Canes

Photo: Perfect Game

Jeff Dahn
Published: Thursday, July 20, 2017

MESA, Ariz. – At the conclusion of the Perfect Game Underclass All-American Games showcase in San Diego last August, PG Vice President of Player Personnel David Rawnsley wrote the following as part of his scouting report on elite 2018 catcher Anthony Seigler from Cartersville, Ga.:

“(Seigler is a) unique talent, a switch-hitter and switch-pitcher (who) can play all over the field athletically. He will be one of those players who appears at nine positions in a game and is good at each one; 10 positions if you count left-handed/right-handed pitcher.”

The word “unique” may not begin to cover it. Seigler is indeed an ambidextrous primary catcher who is capable of playing every position on the field, and excels at such a high level he’s been invited back to San Diego again this August.

This time, however, since he’s only about a month away from beginning his senior year at Cartersville High School, he will not be returning to the PG Underclass All-American Games at the University of San Diego. Seigler will instead be quite happily participating in the Perfect Game All-American Classic at the Padres’ Petco Park.

“It’s a great honor to be selected,” Seigler said Thursday afternoon, speaking from the Cubs Park Riverview-Chicago Cubs Spring Training complex. “To be one of the top 50 to get that call that says you’re being selected to play in the PG All-American (Classic), I was definitely speechless when I got the call. I’m very thankful – it’s an honor – and I cannot wait to get out there and play.”

One of nine top national prospects from Georgia on the PG A-A Classic East Team roster, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound, No. 49-ranked and Auburn commit Seigler finds himself in the East Valley this week competing at the 17u PG World Series for the powerhouse EvoShield Canes and manager Jeff Petty.

The Canes’ roster includes four other PG All-Americans: right-hander Austin Becker (No. 17-ranked; Sunbury, Ohio; Vanderbilt commit); shortstop Xavier Edwards (No. 50; Wellington, Fla.; Vanderbilt); outfielder Joe Gray Jr. (No. 8; Hattiesburg, Miss.; Ole Miss) and Nicholas Northcut (No. 34; Mason, Ohio; Vanderbilt).

“I know it’s Xavier and me on the East and then Joe, Nick and Austin on the West, and it’s going to be fun playing against them,” Seigler said of the PG A-A Classic matchup. “We’re going to cut-up with them and just give them crap and I can’t wait to do that, but it’s going to be fun playing with all those guys.”

Playing under the name of the Canes 17u, this is the same team managed to fight through some very difficult circumstances brought about by adverse weather conditions and emerge as the champion at the 17u PG WWBA National Championship played in the north Atlanta suburbs earlier this month.

Like every other team in the tournament, the Canes were forced to sit through long delays, rescheduling and having to be constantly on call at their hotel; twice they didn’t complete games until 3 a.m.

But they persevered, and after topping the Texas Twelve Maroon in the championship game, the Canes stood out with their unblemished 10-0-0 record; Edwards was named the MV Player and right-hander Landon Marceau was the MV Pitcher.

“It was a special week because of the outcome,” Petty said Thursday. “Just to overcome all those circumstances and win the whole thing … just says something about the mental makeup of the kids that we have. They’re talented, but to overcome everything they faced, I think you have to have a little more than just talent to do that.”

Seigler agreed: “It just means we have a lot of heart – we have a lot of dog in us – and we never expect to lose. We’re always looking for a win, and that’s what I love about this team. Losing isn’t an option for us.

“We’ve got a lot of good talent on this team and playing with them is fun,” he continued. “We’ve gotten to know each other well and we have a great bond; we’re playing for one another. We just love each other and we push each other, and that’s the main thing.”

The players and coaches were rewarded with more than a week off between the end of the 17u PG WWBA and the start of the 17u PG World Series, and Petty encouraged them to relax, stay away from the field and recover from their various aches and pains, bumps and bruises. The guys had been going at it full-throttle since early June – right after their high school seasons were completed – and quite of few of them were playing hurt in Atlanta.

Petty feels like this team has been fortunate this summer in that it’s won all three of the top-competition tournaments at which it has been involved, including the 17u PG WWBA National Championship. And he also knows that the 17u PG World Series is a different breed of cat with every one of the 30 teams capable of winning it all.

“We just told them to not get complacent and not to feel like they’ve arrived,” Petty said. “That can be something that can really knock us down a peg if we should up to this tournament with a ‘we can’t be beaten’ type of attitude because that is absolutely not the case. …

“This tournament is absolutely loaded with talent with the teams that are here and the storied programs that are here,” he continued. “This is like Jupiter (the PG WWBA World Championship) but condensed to 30 teams; you don’t get an off-game.”

The Canes opened play Thursday afternoon with a rousing 14-3 victory over the So Cal-based SGV Arsenal. They pounded out 15 hits in the win, with Gray Jr. smacking a home run, a double and a single and driving in five runs, and Miko Rodriguez delivering a double and a single while chasing three runs across home plate.

This is the 35th PG event Seigler has attended since he turned in an all-tournament team performance while playing for the East Cobb Braves at the 2012 12u BCS Finals in Marietta, Ga.

He has played in dozens of PG WWBA and PG BCS tournaments with several teams – including the East Cobb Astros and the Upstate Mavericks – and was named to 15 more all-tournament teams since that 2012 debut; he was the Most Valuable Player at the 2015 15u PG WWBA National Championship.

Coming into the 17u PGWS, Seigler had played on two PG WWBA national championship teams – including the 2017 17u PG WWBA National Championship – and two PG BCS Finals title teams.

Seigler has also been a standout PG showcase performer, earning Top Prospect List recognition at four events: the 2015 PG National Underclass-Main Event; 2016 PG. Junior National; 2016 PG Sunshine East and 2016 PG Underclass All-American Games.

Additionally, he has recorded four top-10 Pop times and five top-10 catcher velocities in his PG showcase career. The PG All-American Classic would appear to be a natural extension of those performances.

“I love the showcases,” Seigler said. “It’s fun going out there and showing what you’ve got to PG, to the other scouts and to the college coaches. I just like going out there and being around all that great talent.”

The whole ambidexterity thing took root with Seigler when he was quite young and his dad, Todd Seigler, would toss him whiffle balls to hit. If a ball he didn’t hit landed to his left, he would pick it up with his left hand and throw it back to his dad, and if it landed to his right he would do the same thing with his right hand.

Well, the elder Seigler took note of that, and once young Anthony got old enough to take his game outside, he would spend one day throwing with his right hand and the next day throwing with his left, and continued it from there.

On Thursday, Seigler told PG with the utmost sincerity that he really doesn’t know if one of his throwing arms is more dominant than the other; his other activities surrender no clues.

As an example, he throws a football and shoots a basketball only left-handed, and he writes with his right hand. Since there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason this whole “both-handed” phenomenon, it should come as no surprise that Seigler has always been a switch-hitter.

At one tournament this summer, Petty recalled, he caught all seven innings of one game and then went out in the next game and threw six sparkling innings left-handed, running his fastball up to 90 mph and showing good command with his breaking ball.

Seigler is capable of hitting 90 mph throwing with either arm but the Canes coaching staff doesn’t ask him to pitch right-handed because he does so much catching. They’re trying to save the wear-and-tear on his right arm as much as possible.

“He’s as good of a catcher as we’ve ever had in 12 years; we’ve had some good ones but he’s right up there with the great ones,” Petty said. “The mentality he brings to the park every day – he plays really hard, he wants to win. He’s willing to do the small things to win baseball games, and you can stick him out at second base or third base or first base and lose nothing.”

A recently turned 18-year old, Seigler is also part of a Cartersville High School baseball program that rose to national prominence over the last 21 years under the direction of head coach Stuart Chester, who was also the head coach of the East Team at the 2011 PG All-American Classic.

Chester coached the Hurricanes to Georgia state championships in Class AA (2001, ‘02) and Class AAA (2003, ’08, ’09, ’13) but decided to leave Cartersville for a comparable position at Buford (Ga.) High School at the end of this past season. Chester will be replaced by veteran head coach Bobby Howard, who previously coached at Cartersville rival Columbus (Ga.) High School.

“We’ve got a lot of good talent in that program, too,” Seigler said of his other “Canes” team. “We’ve got a lot of guys that are probably going to get some D-I offers, too, so my senior year is going to be big. Hopefully we’ll be able to come home with a (championship).

“I had a chance to meet Coach Howard already and I love him; he’s a great coach,” he added. “He’s similar to Coach Chester so it’s going to be fun playing for him.”

While Seigler’s single-minded focus this week is on helping the EvoShield Canes become the 17u PG World Series’ first repeat champion (they won the 2nd annual event in 2013 behind MV-Player Charlie Cody and MV-Pitcher Grant Holmes) he can be excused for looking ahead just a little bit.

He’s had a ton of fun playing the game he loves for almost his entire life, starting with those whiffle balls way back when. Having the opportunity to be a part of something as significant as the PG All-American Classic has him chomping at the bit.

“It’s definitely going to be cool way to close out the summer,” Seigler said. “I can’t wait to be playing with a lot of great talent there. Our (East) team is stacked and I’m just ready to get it going.”

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