The Orioles have optioned starting catcher Chance Sisco to Triple-A Norfolk, per a team announcement. In a corresponding move, the Orioles will recall fellow backstop Caleb Joseph from Norfolk, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets.
Sisco last took the field for the Orioles on Friday, and manager Buck Showalter revealed after Sunday’s game that the player has had difficulty sleeping of late, which has affected his energy level (via Kubatko). It’s unclear whether or how much that played into the decision to send down Sisco, but in any case, it’s an unexpected demotion for the 23-year-old. At 20-50, the Orioles are well out of contention and in position to evaluate their young players at the major league level, but Sisco will nonetheless return to the minors for an undisclosed period of time. It’s worth noting that he entered 2018 with 31 days of service time, putting him 141 days shy of a full year of service. As of now, he’s not slated to reach arbitration until after the 2020 season or free agency until after the 2023 campaign.
Sisco came into 2018 with his rookie status intact, and for the most part, he looked as if he belonged in the majors prior to his demotion. Across 141 plate appearances this year, Sisco has hit .218/.340/.328 (good for a 92 wRC+), though he has posted a 35.5 percent strikeout rate and hasn’t offered much power (two home runs, .109 ISO). On the defensive side, Sisco has caught 28 percent of would-be base stealers – just beating out the 27 percent league average – but has struggled as a pitch framer, per both Baseball Prospectus and StatCorner.
Joseph, who racked up significant playing time in Baltimore from 2014-17 and has amassed 80 major league PAs this season, will pair with Austin Wynns as the club’s top two catchers. He’ll also team up with his brother, infielder Corban Joseph, whom the Orioles selected from Double-A on Friday.