The Baltimore Orioles may not be known for its farm system, but someone in the scouting department has done something right.
According to the latest list of Top 100 MLB Prospects, the Baltimore Orioles have two that are worthy of the list.
The two young men are Chance Sisco and Austin Hays.
Baseball America puts together the list of the Top 100 Prospects a few times throughout the season. Updates are done as players move through the minor league system and as they are traded between teams. The Baseball America list is a highly respected list along with the MLB Pipeline List. Interestingly, both lists rarely agree.
Who creates the lists?
The Baseball America list has the latest rankings. Chance Sisco is sitting in the #29 spot and Austin Hays is barely squeaked in at #99. On the MLB Pipeline List, Sisco is #84 and Hays didn’t even make the cut. According to the MLB Pipeline, Sisco is the only Orioles prospect in the Top 100. The MLB Pipeline does rank Sisco as the fifth-best catching prospect in the minor leagues.
So who are these two young men and what can Orioles fans expect to see out of them?
Who is Chance Sisco?
Sisco was drafted in the second round by the Orioles in 2013 right out of high school. He has played with all of the teams in the minor league system and is currently catching for the Triple-A Norfolk Tides. His career minor league numbers at the plate aren’t bad, especially for a catcher: .316/.395/.427 with an OPS of .822. But, his numbers have dropped a bit now that he is seeing action at the Triple-A level. This season in Norfolk, he is batting .276/.351/.390 with an OPS of .742. Sisco is not a home run hitter – he has three so far this season, he does hit. The 22-year-old catcher currently has 17 doubles to his name. And, he has 30 RBIs.
The writers at Fangraphs think very highly of Sisco and expect that he will arrive in Baltimore in 2018. But, with Welington Castillo doing what he normally does, Wayne Cadivi from Fangraphs wrote:
"“Chance Sisco is the catcher of the future in Baltimore and these two [Caleb Joseph and Castillo] are merely place holders. Don’t be surprised if Castillo sees his fifth team in two years by the All Star Break.”"
If the Orioles decide to make some moves before the trade deadline, Sisco could make his debut in 2017.
Who is Austin Hays?
Austin Hays is the other prospect noted by Baseball America. But, he is nowhere near being ready for a Major League debut. He was a third round draft pick in 2016 out of Jacksonville University. He’s a right-handed outfielder and has moved quickly through the minors out-performing his predictions. He is currently on the roster with the Double-A Bowie Baysox and has a respectable set of numbers batting .350/.365/.567 with an OPS of .932 in 62 plate appearances. He began 2017 with the Single-A+ Frederick Keys where his numbers were similar.
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Fangraphs also thinks highly of Hays. The outfielder has appeared twice on the weekly “Fringe Five” where Carson Cistulli has noted Hays’ defensive numbers and above-average batting abilities. Cistulli wrote about Hays:
"“The 21-year-old outfielder finished his tenure in the Carolina League having recorded not only a better-than-average strikeout rate but also the second-best isolated-power figure among that league’s 68 qualified batters.”"
With the attention given to these two minor leaguers, it is clear that they are worth watching on their way through the system. These young prospects show a glimmer of hope for the future of the Orioles.