Minor-league baseball players Mike and Sammy Siani are keeping a positive attitude amid the chaos delivered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Their careers are on hold, and they are unsure when they will play in an actual baseball game again. The brothers, both left-handed outfielders and former stars at Penn Charter, are back home in Glenside, trying to keep sharp for when they will finally get to resume their careers.
Mike Siani was a fourth-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Reds in 2018. He had committed to Virginia but signed with the Reds for a bonus of $2 million, according to spotrac.com
Sammy Siani was the 37th overall selection in 2019, a competitive-balance pick after the first round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He had committed to Duke but signed for a $2.15 million bonus.
There is speculation that minor-league baseball could be shelved this season, and while nothing is definite, the brothers have a practical outlook.
“For all minor-leaguers, it is not the best situation,” said Mike Siani, who said he was probably going to start the season in high-A Daytona Beach. “Ideally, you want to get going, you want to keep moving, you want to be in double A as quick as you can, you want to get closer and closer to the big leagues, and this obviously doesn’t help with that.”
Mike Siani, who turns 21 in July, played primarily center field last season for the Reds’ low-A team in Dayton, Ohio. He hit .253 with six home runs, 39 RBIs and 45 stolen bases. He had a .333 on-base percentage in 531 plate appearances.
“I am almost 21 years old so I have to try to get moving,” said Mike, who has the same name as his father’s distant cousin who played in the NFL from 1972-80. “I am not saying the window is closing, and you want to keep moving and get closer to the big leagues. The timing [stinks] but you have to try to take a positive out of it and keep working hard and make sure you are ready for whenever they do start back up.”
Sammy Siani, who is 19, said he wasn’t sure where he was going to be assigned this season. Last year he batted .241 but had a .372 on-base percentage in 164 plate appearances while playing center and left field for the Pirates’ Gulf Coast League team.
“It’s a tough situation,” Sammy said. “The good thing is that everybody is in the same situation, so it is not like anybody else is going to have an advantage.”
Over Mother’s Day weekend, the brothers took a break from working out together to distribute Quickball equipment to youth baseball players in the Glenside Youth Athletic Club. Quickball uses a foam ball that you hit with a plastic bat. The #QuickballChallenge, a campaign led by USA Quickball, is aimed at bringing baseball to youth players across the United States who have had their seasons canceled because of the pandemic.
“It was a great event,” Sammy said. "Kids as of now aren’t likely to play organized baseball this summer, so it was a good event and they got something positive out of it.”
Both brothers were in spring training when the camps were halted, Sammy in Florida and Mike in Arizona.
Mike actually got to play in three big-league spring training games. The highlight was getting a hit off Milwaukee Brewers closer Josh Hader on March 1.
“They gave me the ball,” he said.
Both players consider themselves fortunate that they were able to sign their bonuses.
“For sure, it definitely is part of the reason why we chose to go to pro ball,” Mike said. “That was the type of money that worked for both of us and let us be where we are now. You never think something like this would happen, but it definitely helps to have a little bit of money to lay back and support yourself.”
Added Sammy, “The positive was that we were able to get my mom a really good Mother’s Day gift.”