Baltimore Orioles: Chance Sisco Is On An Offensive Tear
After a slow start to the season, Chance Sisco is heating up at the plate down in the minor leagues for the Baltimore Orioles.
Chance Sisco was the talk of spring training for the Baltimore Orioles. Everything seemed to be clicking for the former top prospect until his bat cooled off and Mike Elias brought in Jesus Sucre and Pedro Severino to man the catching position and improve the defense behind the plate.
Sisco started his 2019 season back where he spent much of his 2018 season, at Harbor Park with Norfolk Tides. It wasn’t a glamorous start for the 24-year-old left-handed hitting catcher, but Sisco is settling in hitting the ball well, finally.
In 22 games, Sisco is slashing .244/.347/.402 with a .750 OPS, and a wRC+ of 96. Those numbers aren’t anything to write home about, but over his last 10 games, Sisco is heating up and producing at the plate (.333 average, three HR, 10 RBI, seven BB). Thanks to his three walks on Thursday night, he now owns a 10.5% walk rate and 24% strikeout rate.
His first home run of the season didn’t come until April 30th against the Durham Bulls, a shot to dead center, bright and early in the morning. He’s since homered in three-straight games, including this oppo-shot on Thursday night against the Charlotte Knights.
Even when he wasn’t hitting, Sisco was making good contact and falling victim to a little bad luck. His patience at the plate has remained impressive, consistently working deep into counts and drawing 10 free passes in 22 games. We’re only a month into the minor league regular season, however, Sisco has traded in a few of his flyballs for line-drives, meaning it was just a matter of time before hits started to fall in.
The one thing that stood out the most with Sisco was his demeanor. He has been tossed from one game and went through a period where he frequently bickered with home plate umpires. Hits weren’t falling, strikeouts were piling up, and his frustrations were clearly boiling over with each bad call against him.
After spending the past two seasons bouncing between Baltimore and Norfolk, Sisco hasn’t lived up to his potential as a former top prospect and many fans were feeling the same frustrations as Sisco was showing. Is the offense clicking after hitting .242 with Norfolk and .181 with the Baltimore Orioles last season? Maybe, but his offense has never been the issue.
Can Chance Sisco provide value for the Baltimore Orioles?
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Let’s say his offense stays consistent and he continues to hit the ball, it’s not a far-fetched thought. What value can he provide to the Baltimore Orioles? It won’t come from behind the plate.
I’ve watched every single inning from every Tides’ game up to this point and Sisco’s defense behind the plate hasn’t improved. He’s been unable to corral wild pitches that even an average major league defender knocks down, plays at the plate haven’t been close, and his arm behind the plate is laughable.
Of the 13 baserunners who have attempted a steal against Sisco, 11 have been successful. That won’t cut it, at any level.
Sure, having Jesus Sucre as a mentor down in Norfolk could pay dividends, but the improvements Sisco needs to make are too steep for one person to come in and fix. If the Orioles eventually want Sisco’s bat at the major league level, when do they make a position change? But that begs the question, which position?
First base is out of the question and you don’t want to block the path for guys like Ryan McKenna, Austin Hays, Yusniel Diaz, etc. with a move to the outfield. Plus, the Orioles also have Cedric Mullins, Anthony Santander (who homered in his one-game call-up to the big leagues as Wednesday’s 26th man for the doubleheader), and DJ Stewart who would provide greater value than Chance Sisco, the outfielder.
I don’t even know if Sisco is capable of playing another position. If so, there’s no need to make a change at the moment, but it is worth having a conversation about.
The Tides are currently on a 10-game homestand, providing plenty of opportunities for fans close by to get a first-hand look at Sisco and the rest of the team, including a certain hot-hitting first baseman.