Catcher Chance Sisco, the Orioles’ second-round pick out of a California high school in June, had an impressive first season.
He hit for a high batting average in the Gulf Coast League, played in two games for short-season Single-A Aberdeen at the end of the year and continued to impress club officials with a strong performance in instructional league.
It was a solid first season for this 18-year-old left-handed hitter from Corona, Calif.
What is also impressive about Sisco is how comfortable he looked as a catcher when you consider he hadn’t regularly played the position before his senior year at Santiago High School.
Sisco told me his team’s best catcher graduated and his dad thought it would be a good move for him to slide behind the plate. He played mostly shortstop until his senior season this past spring.
“Going into my senior year, we knew we didn’t have a catcher and that is one of the key positions on a high school team. I wanted to do it. We lost a key senior from the year before,” he said.
Was the chance to possibly help his draft status also a consideration with the move?
“It was in the back of my mind that it could help because I hit left-handed,” Sisco said. “I had caught just a little before that. I wanted to try it and I love it now.
“At the beginning, the footwork was hard, but being an infielder helped that and catching bullpens helped me.”
After catching in high school and for the O’s GCL team, now Sisco can’t imagine playing anywhere else.
“I love everything (about catching),” he said. “I love calling the game, working with the pitchers and being in on every single play of the game. You get beat up, but it comes with the job and I’m perfectly fine with it.”
Orioles director of player development Brian Graham said Sisco looked good during instructional league workouts and games.
“Chance Sisco has performed well and been very impressive with his entire instructional league,” Graham said. “He’s a lot more mature defensively with receiving, blocking and throwing than I anticipated. He’s a lot more advanced, has a real good approach at the plate and has competed well with the older players. He’s been impressive.”
Now about what he was drafted for - his bat. Sisco hit .371 with four doubles, a triple, a homer and 11 RBIs in 31 GCL games this summer. He had a .464 slugging percentage and a .938 OPS. He hit .384 against right-handed pitching and showed some decent plate discipline with 17 walks to 21 strikeouts.
“Just had fun playing,” he said of his GCL season. “Getting used to the programs and everything down there. Just got in a good routine and stayed healthy. Kept working hard and getting swings in every day help a lot.
“I didn’t know what to expect. You can never be satisfied, you always keep working and can always get better.”
Sisco was the Orioles’ third selection in June after pitcher Hunter Harvey and outfielder Josh Hart. He was the draft’s 61st overall selection.
What does he see as his strengths as a batter?
“Being able to recognize pitches I think, and being able to take the ball where it’s pitched,” he said. “You get better playing against better competition.”