Josiah Sightler calls it a "win-win" situation for him.
The Swansea standout and South Carolina signee was taken by the Cincinnati Reds on June 6 in the 12th round of the Major League Baseball draft. Now, Sightler is in the process of deciding whether to go straight to professional baseball or head to the Gamecocks.
Sightler is working with adviser Lee Long, and they have been in contact with the Reds organization. MLB draftees have until July 6 to make a decision, but Sightler hopes to make up his mind before then.
“I think it is a win-win situation for me,” Sightler said last week “I either get to go and play professional baseball right away or I go to South Carolina and play three or four years and try to improve my draft position.
“I didn’t sleep much in the days leading up to the draft, but I have been sleeping pretty good. I know I will be at peace whatever decision I make.”
Members of the Gamecocks coaching staff, including head coach Mark Kingston, sent Sightler congratulatory messages after his selection.
Cincinnati was one of the teams he worked out for last month when it held a private workout with him at River Bluff High School. Sightler said there were talks of the Reds taking him in the sixth or seventh round Tuesday but nothing materialized.
The top 10 rounds have guaranteed slotted signing bonuses, but teams can move around the money and save it on a player taken later if they know he will sign. According to www.redsminorleague.com, the Reds have used $5,870,000 of their $10,900,400 signing bonus pool but haven't signed their first-round pick Jonathan India yet.
The Reds drafted Sightler as a first baseman, not as a pitcher as previously announced. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder played first this season and also has played outfield. He didn’t pitch this year as he recovered from a torn labrum suffered in an East Coast Pro Showcase.
Sightler hit .422 with seven homers and 26 RBIs despite being pitched around a lot. He was walked 28 times in 94 plate appearances.
A record 10 South Carolina players were picked in the draft. Sightler was one of six Gamecocks signees taken over the course of the three-day draft. Owen White went in the second round and earned a $1.5 million signing bonus, according to Baseball America’s Jim Callis. The amount is more than $200,000 over the slotted value of $1,257,500 for the pick.
Fifth-round pick Taj Bradley signed with the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday. According to Callis, Bradley's signing bonus was $747,500, well above the slot value of $343,600. Eleventh-round pick Blaze Alexander signed with the Diamondbacks for $500,000, which is $375,000 more than the normal allotted amount for player taken after the 10th round.
Late-round picks, pitcher Brady Allen (39th) and Wes Clarke (40th) likely will be Gamecocks.
“It was great to see so many guys I know and have played with get drafted,” Sightler said.