This is one in a series of stories breaking down PBN’s Top 30 Pittsburgh Pirates prospects.
Born Oct. 19, 1999, left-handed Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Josiah Sightler began his journey on this thing we call life. Eventually, the wide-eyed dreams of many children became a reality for Sighter in 2022 as he was drafted to play professional baseball.
The young left-handed first baseman began his pursuit in South Carolina at Swansea High School. In 2018, Sightler was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 12th round. Instead, Sightler attended the University of South Carolina.
During his four seasons with the Gamecocks, Sightler amassed a .265/.358/.494 slash line with an OPS of .852 in 393 at-bats. In addition, Sightler drove in 64 runs and smashed 22 homers within that timeframe.
Eventually, the Pirates took a chance on Sightler in the 15th round of the ’22 draft and signed the 6 ft 3 first baseman to a $125,00 signing bonus.
Sightler began his professional career this season with the Pirates, and he jumped quite a few levels before the season was up (FCL, Single-A, and High-A).
Throughout 60 games in his first year, Sightler posted a slash line of .311/.383/.526 with an OPS of .909. In addition, Sightler blasted 14 homers and drove in 55 runs in 228 at-bats.
The 23-year-old saw most of his action in High-A Greensboro and hit seven out of his 14 homers for the High-A affiliate. Four out of Sightler’s seven homers for Greensboro were away games.
The encouraging part about this is Greensboro tends to be a home-run haven and gives inflated numbers. In addition, out of Sightler’s 31 hits in High-A, 18 were away from home in 68 at-bats. (nearly a .265 average)
Sightler will have to show a little more patience at the plate. For Greensboro, he had a K% of 28.7 and a minuscule BB% of 7.6. In addition, Sightler’s wRC+ was an 86 for the Grasshoppers (14 points below average).
Sightler’s biggest test will be the jump up to Altoona when he makes the jump. After talking with several pitchers/hitters who made the Greensboro/Altoona jump. They have told me it’s like going from a vacuum to a graveyard for balls hit in the air.
Sightler’s 48.5% flyball rate will have to drop if he plans to succeed in the upper levels. In addition, Sightler’s line drive rate in Greensboro was 20.6%.
In all reality, Sightler is the only feasible first-base prospect close(ish) to the majors. He will have to up his game in 2024 to make serious waves.