Josiah Sightler was a little starstruck.
The Swansea senior and South Carolina baseball signee grew up idolizing Chipper Jones and got a chance to see the former Atlanta Brave, who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame later this summer. Jones was in Atlanta with other members in the organization as they worked out a group of potential draft hopefuls, which included Sightler.
“All of us that were at the workout were just hanging out in the locker room when we saw him walk in and were all surprised and kind of shocked that he was standing there,” Sightler said. "It was pretty cool to see him and be in the same room as him.”
Sightler didn’t get to talk to Jones but did speak with former Braves first baseman Fred McGriff, who also was checking out possible future Braves.
“He said I had some power and could swing a bat,” Sightler said.
Meeting Jones and McGriff has been among the highlights for Sightler during the draft process. In addition to the Braves, he had workouts with the Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres and had in-home visits in the winter with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals.
Sightler had a big senior season and hit .422 with seven homers and 26 RBIs despite being pitched around a lot. He was walked 28 times in 94 plate appearances.
Sightler got on teams' radars after his performance last summer at Tournament of Stars Showcase at the USA Baseball Complex. There were three or four scouts at most of the Tigers’ games this year and more than 20 when they played in Gilbert’s Spring Break tournament.
The MLB draft begins Monday and runs through Wednesday, and Sightler is certain to hear his name called at some point. The outfielder/pitcher is ranked No. 383 in Baseball America’s Top 500 and is one of three high school players from South Carolina in the list along with Pee Dee Academy’s Garrett McDaniel (203) and Chesnee’s Nate Lamb (309).
Sigthtler is keeping an open mind during the draft process and will decide which will be a better situation for him, whether playing pro ball or at USC. He is enjoying the process, which is drastically different than recruiting was, and enjoying building the relationship with scouts.
“It is something you have dreamed about since you were little. When they call or text you, it is finally starting to come true,” Sightler said. “Recruiting process you hear from coaches and don’t hear from them in a while. The scouts are constantly talking to you and wanting information, especially medical information, so I am always hearing from them.”
Josiah Sightler Profile
What they are saying about Sightler
Baseball America Scouting Report
Sightler throws in the mid- to upper 80s with his fastball, throwing out of a three-quarter slot with a long arm action. He also mixes in a mid-70s curveball and a low-80s changeup, and his fastball has touched 90 mph. He has some future upside thanks to a big frame that has more room to fill out, but Sightler also showed some potential with the bat at a few summer events, including USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars. At the event, he finished with the fourth-best average exit velocity (94 mph), ahead of names like Nolan Gorman, Will Banfield, Connor Scott and Matt McLain. It’s a pull-oriented approach and Sightler was inconsistent with his quality of contact, but scouts might also be interested in him as a hitter with power potential.