He has been labeled as the future catcher for the Orioles, and he’ll be 22 in roughly six weeks. Chance Sisco has been in the Orioles organization since being drafted in the second round in 2013, and he is now the Orioles number one ranked prospect, according to Baseball America.
The Orioles promoted Sisco to Triple-A Norfolk at the end of the 2016 season, and that’s where he will begin his 2017 campaign. This year could be the most important season of Sisco’s minor league career, as his defensive improvement progress will be focused on more than anything. In a season where the Orioles have signed their stop gap, Welington Castillo, in between the departure of Matt Wieters, Sisco will be looked at to prove that he is ready to take over the starting catcher role in the 2018 season.
The Orioles know they may have themselves a future all-star on their hands, but they also knew the same thing in 2007 when they drafted Matt Wieters as the fifth overall pick.
Wieters, drafted as a catcher, was Georgia Tech’s closer for his freshman, and sophomore years, and shared closer duties in his junior year with the Yellowjackets. Sisco, having been drafted straight out of high school, also served as a pitcher for the Temescal Canyon Titans and was named as Player of the Year in 2011.
Sisco has played in more games (358) than Wieters (174) at the minor league level, but his slash line is slightly lower than Wieters’. Sisco’s line reads .323/.402/.434/.836, and Wieters goes as .342/.436/.574/1.010.
In his age-22 season, improvement will need to be shown by Sisco if he’ll want to take the next step, to the majors.
In Matt Wieters’ age-22 season, split between Bowie, and Frederick, he had very good offensive numbers. In 130 games total, Wieters hit .355/.454/.600/1.053, while talling a .989 fielding percentage, and catching 40% (37-for-55) of would-be base stealers. In 93 games behind the plate, Wieters allowed just three passed balls, in 790.2 innings.
Coming off of an age-21 season split between Bowie, and Norfolk, Chance Sisco hit .317/.403/.430/.833, while talling a .987 fielding percentage, and catching just 24% (33-of-103) of runners trying to steal. Sisco caught 87 games between the two teams, allowing only four passed balls, in 754.1 innings.
Offensively, I don’t think there’s any question that Sisco is going to perform well. He may not give you 30+ home runs every year, but he will be an on-base threat, and nobody will ever frown on that. It’s those pesky defensive numbers that a catcher needs to have that would catch scowls.
Sisco has never thrown out more than a quarter of would-be base stealers in a season, and that could become an issue. However, his caught stealing percentage has increased on a yearly basis, (from 19% to 25%) and his passed balls allowed have decreased from year-to-year (from 16 to 4).
Last season, the major league average for caught stealing was 28%. Given that Orioles pitchers were stolen on 65% of the time (37-for-69), and only one current Orioles pitcher (Wade Miley – 1) had a successful pickoff last season, catching runners stealing is a MUST.
I think Sisco’s defensive skills will improve this upcoming season, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he receives a call-up come September 1st.
Keeping a close eye on the Orioles possible catcher of the future will be on my bucket list for 2017.