What Will the O’s do With Chance Sisco?
As far as he and the Baltimore Orioles should be concerned, Chance Sisco has lived up to the loftiest of expectations in 2016.
The young catcher has added to his reputation as a solid, contact-oriented hitter by batting .320/.405/.429 in 112 games. That line includes Sisco’s debut at Triple-A Norfolk, which he made in notable fashion on Thursday by going 2-for-5 with a grand slam.
Given his offensive production and improving defense, Sisco is clearly the best prospect in the Orioles’ system and should get more recognition among baseball’s best catching prospects. Perhaps the only question remaining now is how the Orioles will handle him in 2017.
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In looking at that scenario, there are two points to consider, the first of which is the Orioles’ needs. More likely than not, 2016 is Matt Wieters’ final season in Baltimore. Should he depart, the Orioles could simply plug Caleb Joseph into the starting role or look for a stop-gap option on the free agent market.
Should they not choose that route, Sisco would have an opening in spring training. Any scenario in which the Orioles go into February without a logical solution at catcher benefits Sisco’s chances of making the Opening Day roster, as he could outperform his competition at the plate and—if given enough innings at the position—show himself to be capable of handling a major league pitching staff.
Another factor to consider is Sisco’s contract status, both as it relates to options and arbitration/free agency. Sisco is not Rule-5 eligible coming into this offseason, so the Orioles are in a position where they can wait to put him on the 40-man roster. Furthermore, leaving Sisco in Norfolk for an extended period of time at the beginning of the year would effectively delay his arbitration eligibility and potentially his free agency. (Of course, some factors relating to arbitration could change depending upon the results of the CBA negotiations that should be complete within the next few months.)
Looking at those factors, the Orioles may be inclined to allow Sisco to start next season back at Norfolk and eye a promotion in May or June. Aside from the issues relating to his contract, such a decision would allow Sisco to continue refining his defense and work with a more experienced pitching staff than he did at Double-A Bowie this season.
Ultimately of the Orioles’ current prospects, Sisco is both the most immediate and likely candidate to become the team’s next homegrown stand out. The question of him reaching Baltimore is no longer a matter of if, but when.
A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, and Loyola University; Spedden has previously spent time in the Washington Nationals organization as a videographer for the Hagerstown Suns. As a blogger, Spedden is an Editor / Writer for the Suns fan club. Additionally, he contributes to The Nats Blog as a prospect writer, and Ballpark Digest. For BSL, Spedden covers the Orioles Minor Leagues.