KEVIN SIEGRIST, LEFT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: July 20, 1989
Drafted: 41st Round, 1235th Overall, 2008 (Cardinals)
How Acquired: Minor league free agent
College: Palm Beach CC
Agent: ISE Baseball
WTM’S PLAYER PROFILE
|Siegrist is a big, hard-throwing left-hander who, like most major league relievers, started off as a starter. The Cardinals moved him to the bullpen permanently in 2013 and he took off quickly, going from AA to the majors, which he reached in June. He had oustanding seasons for St. Louis after arriving in 2013, and also in 2015-16. He ran into injury problems in 2017 and the Cardinals released him. At his best, Siegrist threw 95-96 mph, with an effective change and curve. Over the course of 2016-17, though, his velocity dropped to about 92 on average. Since moving to relief, he’s had high K rates, but walks have been a problem at times. He’s not especially a groundball or fly ball pitcher, but he’s had a little trouble with gopher balls starting in 2016. As a major leaguer, he’s had a modest reverse platoon split, allowing a .701 OPS to left-handed batters and .625 to right-handed batters. The Pirates signed Siegrist to a minor league contract for 2018, with an invitation to spring training.
Siegrist pitched well in his debut, albeit only over 13 innings.
In ten games, four starts, Siegrist still didn’t get in a lot of innings.
The Cards sent Siegrist back to short-season ball, where he struggled badly over seven games, including four starts. The team demoted him to advanced rookie ball, where he was far more effective, still mainly as a starter.
Siegrist finally made it to full season ball and won all but one of the nine games he pitched, all but one of them starts. He did it despite an extremely low K rate. Moved up to high A, he wasn’t as successful. The main problem was his walk rate, which more than doubled. Siegrist had some trouble with back pain and shoulder soreness.
Siegrist opened the season in high A and was much more effective, cutting down on the walks and allowing opponents to bat only .173 against him in ten starts. Moved up to AA, he made eight appearances, five of them starts, and continued to be fairly effective. His K rate remained just fair, as it was throughout his time as a starter. Siegrist missed some time with a strained, non-throwing shoulder.
The Cardinals moved Siegrist to the bullpen for good and his career took off, as did his K rate. Opponents batted a measly .118 against him in 18 games split between AA and AAA. St. Louis called him up in June and he was nearly as good in the majors, making 45 appearances and holding opponents to a 128/237/195 line.
Siegrist got off to a good start, but went on the disabled list with a forearm strain in May. He returned in late July, but struggled badly in August and the Cardinals sent him to the minors for two weeks. When he returned he continued to struggle.
Siegrist rebounded with an outstanding season, appearing in 81 games for the Cards and limiting opponents to a 198/291/313 line. He did have some trouble with walks.
Other than missing two weeks with mononucleosis, Siegrist again spent the season with the Cards and had nearly as good a year as the previous one. Interestingly, though, the advanced metrics didn’t quite buy either season; he had an xFIP of 3.93 in 2015 and 4.24 in 2016.
Siegrist struggled with injuries and control problems. He missed time with a spinal sprain and forearm tendonitis, and his walk total increased sharply, leading to an opponents’ OBP of .371. St. Louis designated him for assignment at the end of August, which seemed a bit hasty considering that rosters had expanded. The Phillies claimed Siegrist and he pitched better for them, but they removed him from the 40-man roster after the season anyway. He refused assignment to the minors and became a free agent.
Siegrist will join the battle to win a role as a left-hander coming out of the bullpen. It’s a little hard, though, to see the need for a lefty specifically when he’s actually more effective against right-handed hitters. The Pirates will be hoping to see Siegrist’s stuff bounce back to where it was prior to 2016, although the metrics suggest that he may not have been as good as his ERAs suggest. Siegrist seemed to have a strong chance of making the roster out of spring training, but he didn’t pitch well and his velocity had dropped even further. The Pirates reassigned him to AAA at the end of spring training. Under his contract, the Pirates had to see whether another team was willing to put him on its major league roster. Failing that, he’ll go to Indianapolis and try to show the Pirates that he’s recovered.
UPDATE: Siegrist’s velocity was down even further during spring training and the Pirates didn’t think his command was good, either. They assigned him to Indianapolis at the end of the spring, but he refused to report. Siegrist has a clause in his contract that would have let him opt out if another team wanted to put him on its active roster at the beginning of the season, but no other team did. Siegrist’s failure to report thus was a violation of his contract and the Pirates suspended him. He has a full opt out clause if he’s not on the roster by June 1, so presumably he can wait until then, but it’s certainly not likely that some team then will want him in its major league bullpen. Considering all of this, it’s hard to see what Siegrist thinks he’ll gain.
2018: Minor league contract
|Signing Bonus: $85,000
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: 6/6/2013
MiLB FA Eligible: 2018
MLB FA Eligible: 2019
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/2012 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 2 (USED: 2013)
MLB Service Time: 4.116
|June 6, 2008: Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 41st round, 1235th overall pick; signed on June 17.
November 20, 2012: Contract purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals.
August 31, 2017: Designated for assignment by the St. Louis Cardinals.
September 2, 2017: Claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies from the St. Louis Cardinals.
December 2, 2015: Non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs.
December 15, 2015: Signed by the Chicago Cubs as a minor league free agent.
November 18, 2016: Called up by the Chicago Cubs.
October 4, 2017: Designated for assignment by the Philadelphia Phillies; refused assignment to AAA and elected free agency.
February 24, 2018: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league free agent.