The Pittsburgh Pirates signed Josiah Sightler, a first baseman from the University of South Carolina and their 15th-round draft pick, on Thursday. This signing now marks 17 out of 21 draft picks signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates GM, Ben Cherington, and his staff.
UPDATE (12:16 p.m.) Sightler’s signing bonus is reportedly $125,000 according to Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline.
Sightler led the Gamecocks with 15 home runs this year. He also had 11 doubles and 51 RBIs while slashing .300/.408/.629 in 51 games. Sightler was an interesting player at the University of South Carolina. During his career with the Gamecocks (four years), Sightler slashed a .265/.358/.494 with an OPS of .852.
Those 15 home runs for Sightler in 2022 not only led the Gamecocks, but it basically doubled from his previous year with seven and marked a career-high for Sightler. Sightler did seem to have a bit of a strikeout problem in ’22, striking out around 25% of the time in 170 at-bats.
The Pirates are pretty much devoid of any legitimate first base prospects in the system, so Sightler may seem himself jump up the Pirates minor league depth charts. One thing the Pirates have to their advantage is Sightler’s age. Sightler is currently 22 years old and won’t turn 23 until October.
The Pirates and Cherington seemed to favor the college picks in ’22, and Sightler fits right into that mold. Although Cherington said there wasn’t a formula or plan, it sure seems like a template was followed.
The Pirates assigned Sightler to their Florida Complex League team, but I wouldn’t expect him to be there for very long, given his age and college experience.