Reds prospect Michael Siani makes MLB debut

CINCINNATI – Players at Triple-A Louisville were given a later arrival time to be at the ballpark on Wednesday, so outfielder Michael Siani and teammates took their time to have lunch and hang out at one player’s apartment. Little did Siani know that his leisurely day was about to take a sudden turn.

“I got a call from a random number that I didn’t have, so I didn’t answer it,” Siani said. “I was waiting for a voicemail, I didn’t get a voicemail. I didn’t know if it was that important. I got to the field half-an-hour later and was walking through the hallway towards the locker room.”

That’s when Siani was summoned by Louisville manager Pat Kelly into the office.

“He was like, ‘Hey, next time I try to call you make sure you answer,'” Siani recalled. “I was like, ‘Oh, my bad. I didn’t realize it was your number.’ He was like, ‘It doesn’t really matter anymore because you’re going to the big leagues.’ I kind of froze for a second. I didn’t really know what to say. I think my eyes got wide and I blacked out there for a second.”

The Reds selected the 23-year-old Siani’s contract on Wednesday to replace injured center fielder Nick Senzel, who fractured his left toe during Tuesday’s game against the Red Sox. Siani had little time to get settled once he got packed up and reached Great American Ball Park from Louisville, but he was not used in the 5-1 win over Boston on Wednesday night.

Reds manager David Bell had Siani in the starting lineup on Thursday against the Brewers and starter Brandon Woodruff.

“It’s good to get him right in the lineup against the Brewers and face a good pitcher, that’s a great way to start off,” Bell said. “Not too much time to sit and think about it. He was able to observe last night and get a sense of it.”

It’s hard to fault Siani for not expecting a promotion, because he thought he had already been rewarded with one the previous week. On Sept. 13, he was moved up from Double-A Chattanooga and had logged only eight games with Louisville.

Ranked by MLB Pipeline as Cincinnati’s No. 26 prospect, the left-handed hitting center fielder batted .252 with a .755 OPS, 12 home runs, 49 RBIs and 49 steals in 121 games at Chattanooga. He immediately becomes the Reds’ best speed threat on the bases, and he’s been the organization’s best defensive outfielder since he was its fourth-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft.

Playing in the Arizona Fall League last year and being part of one of the select prospects invited early to Minor League camp at Spring Training helped set Siani up for success.

“The adjustments I’ve been making this last year or so have been working. I was able to continue to improve throughout the Double-A season,” Siani said. “A few things that I’ve been working on, just discipline wise. At the same time, being aggressive early in the count on strikes. Then just being competitive with keeping my bat in the zone as long as I can. Limiting the strikeouts, for sure, that was a big deal for me. I wasn’t really focused on the whole hitting for power. I think that comes with maturity and getting a little bit better approach-wise and discipline-wise.”

A Philadelphia-area native, Siani was able to have several members of his family on hand for his debut — including parents Ralph and Kristen and his two brothers. His younger brother, Sammy, is an outfielder in the Pirates system. Ralph Siani runs a three-generation family-owned barbershop and was working when the call from his son came.

“[Dad had] the same reaction I had, just like, ‘What?’ Shocked,” Siani said. “It was definitely a bit of a surprise just how things worked out. But it’s a dream come true to be here and get going.”

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