Catcher talk: Sisco ranked, Wieters waits

We may have gotten further evidence recently that the No. 1 Orioles prospect Chance Sisco is going to be a national top 100 prospect as well when new rankings come out. MLBPipeline.com ranked Sisco as the No. 5 catching prospect in baseball.

Sisco is likely to be the only Oriole to make some of these top 100 lists, but that will be one more than last year when they were shut out.

MLBPipeline.com says:

“Sisco’s feel for hitting has long belied his age. He makes a lot of quality contact with a level left-handed stroke and never tries to do too much, letting the ball travel deep so as to utilize the whole field, while his career .402 OBP over four seasons speaks to his very impressive approach and plate discipline. Sisco profiles as a gap hitter but showed more over-the-fence pop in 2016, highlighted by an impressive opposite-field homer in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in July and a grand slam in his first Triple-A contest in September. Improvements in Sisco’s blocking, receiving and game-calling last season have helped to assuage some concerns about his defensive profile, with many scouts now projecting him to be average behind the plate. His fringy arm and catch-and-throw skills limit his impact on the running game, as his 24 percent caught-stealing rate last season was merely a tick above his career average.”

Sisco-Catches-Futures-Game-Sidebar.jpgThere was a time when you could find scouts that felt Sisco would never catch a day in the majors. But his improvement on defense has quieted that talk along with further cementing him as a quality prospect - one that plays a premium defensive position.

At the Winter Meetings in December, I asked ESPN’s Keith Law about Sisco.

“The sense I get from the Orioles is they don’t want to move Chance Sisco because that is their catcher of the future,” Law said. “And I agree. At worst, you’ve got a solid/average everyday catcher for a long time. When you look at his experience, there is some upside there. He could end up being well above average.”

Where will Wieters end up?: Matt Wieters, an Orioles catcher for 882 games since 2009, remains a free agent. His market has not exactly heated up.

This report indicated there is some sentiment in the O’s organization to sign Wieters to a one-year deal where he could split time with newcomer Welington Castillo. The chance of that happening is being termed a long-shot and I would think it is almost a no-shot.

That sounds like a terrible idea. First of all, why would Wieters want to do that and what salary would he get as a part-time player? If Sisco is the O’s catcher of the future, what if he is ready mid-year next year? The Orioles could always trade a catcher but bringing back Wieters in a reduced role just doesn’t sound like a fit at all for me.

We’ve heard for two years that Atlanta would be the team to sign Wieters, but that hasn’t panned out. Reports of possible interest by the Nationals in Wieters keeps getting shot down by Nationals beat reporters.

Wieters hit .248/.306/.419 last year with 17 homers and 64 RBIs. He ranked seventh among major league catchers in home runs and RBIs. He proved that his right elbow is sound and he could play every day. He’s a quality leader and the pitchers constantly said they loved pitching to him.

There should be a team that appreciates that, even if the price is not nearly what Wieters and agent Scott Boras once sought. But so far, Wieters is still waiting.

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