What To Expect: Chance Sisco
The Orioles are bringing up their No. 1 prospect to help with their run for a wild card.
The Orioles have recalled catcher Chance Sisco from Triple-A Norfolk as part of their September callups. Sisco, 22, hit .267/.340/.395 with a career-high seven home runs and 47 RBIs for the Tides this season, and most importantly improved defensively behind the plate. He made the Futures Game for the second straight year and ranked No. 29 on the Midseason Top 100.
Sisco’s calling card has long been his smooth lefthanded swing and feel for the barrel. His swing is more conducive to producing hard line drives than elevating, but he has shown the ability to drive the ball over the fence to all fields, including an impressive home run the opposite way to left-center in the 2016 Futures Game at Petco Park. Sisco uses the whole field and excels in particular at staying up the middle and lining the ball into center. During cold stretches he can get too pull-happy. He handles good velocity and matches his natural stroke with an impressive eye and strike-zone discipline, although his walks were down and strikeouts up this year at Triple-A.
Sisco only began catching his senior year of high school and underwent a steep learning curve in pro ball. He is athletic but had to learn the basics of receiving, blocking, and game-calling. It took time, but Sisco slowly made strides and progressively got better. He’s allowed the fewest passed balls on a per game basis this year than any season of his career, with evaluators noting his hands are adequate and his blocking and receiving have improved. Sisco’s main issue is throwing. He has average arm strength, but it plays down because poor footwork and an inconsistent release point that result in too many throws in the dirt and off-line. His 23 percent caught stealing rate this year, a below-average mark, is a career high.
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WHAT TO EXPECT
Sisco’s bat will keep him in the majors, although it will be most valuable if he can stick behind the plate. Some evaluators think he can continue his steady upward progress and make that happen, while others feel he would be best served moving positions. Either way, it is his potential to be a high-average, high on-base, lefthanded hitter that will define him.