Siegfried's Upside Within Reach

Siegfried shows potential

Chris Siegfried initially came to the University of Portland as a walk-on looking for a bullpen spot. After spending three up and down seasons in the West Coast Conference, he was scooped up by the Cubs in the 11th round of this year's draft.

This past season with the Pilots, Siegfried made 19 appearances and posted a 5.20 ERA in 36 1/3 innings. He struck out 22 and walked 19.

What did the Cubs see in the left-hander?

"I think they saw a 6-foot-5, lean and projectable kid," said Portland head coach Chris Sperry. "I think the Cubs are one of the ones that saw the radar gun light up. From the left side, that tends to impress a lot of people."

"His velocity started coming around and he was anywhere from 89 to 93 (mph). I think he touched 94 and he had a really good curveball," explained Cubs Scouting Director Tim Wilken.

After signing with the Cubs, Siegfried reported to Boise for the start of short-season play in the Northwest League. Although the southpaw – listed at 6-foot-5, 195 pounds – made his first three appearances with the club in relief, the Cubs aren't yet sure as to what role they see him in for the long-haul.

Siegfried himself would like to give starting a try, although he made only three appearances from the starting rotation throughout college ball.

"I think I'd be beneficial as a starter," said the McMinnville, Ore., native. "But I'm doing what they want me to do. The adrenaline rush out of the bullpen is awesome, as is the rush as a starter. It's more intense out of the ‘pen and you have to control (yourself) a little more. But I see myself starting."

Siegfried's repertoire is made up primarily of fastball/curveball with a changeup that is currently in the developmental stages. Once he is able to master his third pitch, starting could be in the works.

For now, Siegfried is spending his time just getting acclimated to pro ball.

"We don't really have roles yet, but everyone is getting their opportunities to throw," he said. "Everyone, as far as roles go, is just getting some work in and getting used to the whole professional atmosphere."

Siegfried hasn't always been given the chance to get his work in, though, and his journey to the Cubs seems anything but smooth sailing.

In his sophomore year at Portland, he received a demotion of sorts and would log only 14 1/3 innings before playing summer ball in the Southern California Collegiate Baseball Association with the Palm Springs Power.

The trip to Palm Springs was an interesting endeavor as well, Siegfried says. Halfway to southern California, he says he was told not to bother completing the drive.

"Because I had to leave a week late, I was told not to come down," he recalled. "If I did want to come down, I was told that I'd be fighting for a position. I was already halfway there so I told them that I was coming anyway to prove that I could get on that team."

Prove it he did. Siegfried finished with a 0.98 ERA in 18 1/3 innings, striking out 21 batters to help his team advance to the National Baseball College World Series in Wichita, Kan.

"It was a huge confidence boost," Siegfried said.

Now the key is just becoming more consistent.

"Chris's problem has been inconsistency throughout his career," said Sherry, his coach at Portland for three years. "His numbers have never been really stellar and he's just had trouble repeating his delivery. Although he made quite a jump this year, I think that's why he's relatively an unknown; because he just hasn't demonstrated a lot of consistency yet."

"I'd have some outings that would go three good and one bad, or two good and one bad," added Siegfried. "Not having those bad outings is the key and if I do have them, it's about keeping them under control."

The Cubs felt Siegfried got a head start on repeating himself (and his delivery) prior to the draft during a scheduled workout in Mesa, Ariz.

"He started throwing more strikes at the end of the season and he threw the ball pretty good there (in Mesa)," said Wilken. "His arm works pretty good. We're not sure about his role yet, but I think it was a good arm to get a hold of. It looked like he was just starting to reach his upside."

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