Under Armour All-America Game Q&A: Mike Siani
Mike Siani is one of the top prospects in the 2018 draft class. He's a plus-plus runner with natural instincts in center field, and he has raw power and bat speed from the left side of the plate.
Baseball America caught up with Siani in the player's lounge in advance of the the Under Armour All-America Game. The game, powered by Baseball Factory, takes place Saturday and will be streamed live on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network at 8 p.m.
Baseball America:What’s your baseball history? When did you start playing? Mike Siani:Probably like two or three years old. I’ve been playing most of my life. My dad kind of introduced it to me. He played when he was younger. He played in college, he went to Penn State-Abington. It was kind of a tee-ball thing I started with. Pretty generic. And I guess I’m here now.
BA:Philadelphia baseball seems underrated, with a lot of players coming out and doing well at the next level in recent years. Do you have relationships with some of those guys? MS:I went to high school with Joey Lancellotti at Penn Charter. He just graduated and he’s at North Carolina. Shane Muntz (from Malvern Prep) is also another guy. (Muntz will be a freshman at Wake Forest this fall.) Our league specifically—the Inter-Ac League, has been strong the last couple years. We were very successful last year. We won our league. We had nine or 10 guys go to college for baseball just from our team.
BA:Where do you like to go for a cheesesteak in Philly? MS:There’s a couple places that I like to go to. There’s one called Dalessandro’s that I like to go to. It’s in Roxbury, right near my school. It’s really good. Small little corner spots, those are the best places to go. Not the big chains that everybody knows about. Steve’s Prince of Steaks is pretty good. Jim’s is good. Just the smaller spots, the places not everyone knows about.
BA:What’s your go-to Chipotle order? MS:I usually get a bowl with double steak, some mild salsa—can’t get it too hot, white rice, black beans and some corn.
BA:When did you find out you were going to be an Under Armour All-American? What was that like? MS:David Lax from Baseball Factory came to one of my high school games this year, towards the end of the season, to let me know that I was going to be invited, which was awesome. Watching the game last year, following everything that Baseball Factory does and the Under Armour game, and just knowing the kind of opportunity I’m going to have here, it’s going to be special.
Siani played with USA Baseball’s 18U National Team as an underclassman in the summer of 2016.
BA:Had you talked with some of your teammates from Team USA about the experience of the Under Armour game? MS:I roomed with Nick Pratto last year in Mexico. I talked with him, Shane Baz, all the big guys about what they did here, what they did with Perfect Game, the Area Code Games, all of that. They were letting me—along with Jarred Kelenic, Brice Turang and Triston Casas—know how things were going to go, how the experience was going to be here, and how much fun it would be.
Siani has one of the best outfield arms in this year’s draft class, and he’s also a prospect as a lefthanded pitcher.
BA:What are your thoughts on some of the modern training techniques for developing arm strength? MS:The place that I work out at is in contact with Driveline and they’re all about it. I’ve been on this program since I was like 14, so it’s been implemented into what I do every day. It’s the bands, it’s the wrist weights, it’s the weighted balls, it’s lifting the right way, it’s throwing—it’s all kind of incorporated into one thing and it kind of has to do with hitting too. And following that routine has brought me to where I am today, so it’s obviously doing something right. So I kind of just follow it and just go by what it is and the results have been. I’ve heard great things about it and I’ve heard people talk about it to. A lot of kids here use it.
BA:Your more of a prospect as a center fielder, but what are your thoughts on possibly being a two-way player in college? MS:Yeah, I enjoy being on the mound. I’ve been in a relief position for my high school team the last couple years years and I enjoy doing that and I would imagine Virginia sees the same thing in me that I could possibly do both.
If he goes to college, Siani could follow in a long line of Virginia two-way players in recent years. Phillies prospect Adam Haseley was a 2017 first round pick as a center fielder, and was also a dominant lefthanded pitcher for the Hoos. Other recent examples of Virginia two-way players include Nick Howard, Danny Hultzen, and Sean Doolittle.
BA:What was the recruiting process like for you? MS:I was early. In the beginning of my freshman year I was in Fort Myers and that’s where they saw me that fall. I visited multiple times and they had me around and I got to meet some of the guys in practice. I went to a football game, a basketball game. And just something about the campus, the location and it’s like a big college town, which is exactly what I wanted. And it’s not too rural, it’s not too urban, it’s kind of something in the middle, which is cool. And the coaching staff is awesome. There’s a lot of northeast kids going down there too. Everything about the school is exactly what I wanted.
BA:Your brother Sammy Siani is also a pretty good player too, right? MS:He’s here (in Chicago) as well with the USA 17U National Team Development Program. I think they finish up today. He got to play at Wrigley, he got to play at Miller Park, so he was all excited about that.
BA:Is he your only sibling? MS:No, so I have another brother. He’s younger. He’ll be a freshman this year. So we’ll all be in high school together. We all play the outfield, so maybe we’ll all be in the outfield at the same time.
BA:What do your parents do for a living? MS:My dad actually owns a barber shop right down the street from our house. He’s a third-generation barber. They’ve been there since my great grandfather came over from Italy and started it in the 1920s, I think. It’s called Ralph’s Barbership—he’s the third, Ralph the third. They didn’t keep the tradition going with me, but it’s alright. My mom stays at home. She was a teacher. She takes care of me and my two brothers.
BA:What are your walk-up songs? MS:For school, it was "Goosebumps," by Travis Scott. I kind of stick with Travis Scott. There’s a couple songs I like—"The End," "Through The Late Night." I saw him. He was in Philly last year and I saw him, which was crazy. Anything by him.
BA:What’s the scouting report on Mike Siani? MS:I would say the speed is big and then the arm. I’ve been trying to characterize myself as a five-tool player, which is what I want to be, to be able to hit for power and average. The power thing is developing, I’ve been working on that. But the hit tool—hitting for contact, working good at-bats—is definitely something I take pride in. And then the athletic ability in the outfield is important, too.
BA:What’s the biggest thing you want to work on? MS:Just to be able to hit the ball into the gaps, to be able to have power to all parts of the field. That’s important to me. I’ve been working on that recently—hitting the ball with power the other way and being able to take pitches also. Laying off the high pitch, laying off the curveball in the dirt, having good strike zone awareness and discipline at the plate.
BA:How do you stay in shape and maintain explosiveness throughout the season? MS:That’s kind of incorporated with the lifting program and the Driveline stuff I do back home. You have to lift right, but not take it light. So you’ll have days where you do more, then having days where you take it easy because you have to play or you have to throw. Kind of just scheduling everything out, so being on top of that makes it more effective. It gives you days where you feel great, and days where you feel sore, but you end up being stronger than the day before that and you’re not even putting on weight, you’re just getting stronger and putting on muscle, and that’s what’s important, putting on the right weight.
BA:Are there any big leaguers you look up to or model yourself after? MS:Just because he’s a local guy, I look up to Mike Trout and everything he does. He’s a Jersey guy, played (travel baseball) for Tri-State Arsenal so I follow him. Whenever he comes back and plays the Phillies I try to get there and watch. He’s the five-tool guy that I’d like to be like.