The Orioles announced that they’ve promoted catcher Chance Sisco from Triple-A Norfolk. He’ll join the club for the team’s upcoming series against the Rangers and will presumably have the opportunity to prove himself as a viable everyday option for the club moving forward.
Sisco, 24, was widely regarded as one of the game’s top 100 prospects in 2017-18 and looked impressive in a late-season cup of coffee with the O’s in 2017. He wasn’t able to seize the team’s starting role in 2018, however, as he struggled to a dismal .181/.288/.269 slash through 63 games and 184 plate appearances. It’s not uncommon for a young player to flounder through his first extended look at the big league level though, and catchers in particular are often a bit slower to develop offensively.
Sisco opened the season in Triple-A to continue rounding out his game and hit his way back to the Majors with a .289/.383/.530 showing in 193 plate appearances. He’s homered 10 times, hit 10 doubles and collected 19 walks (9.8 percent) against 43 strikeouts (23.3 percent) on the season so far. He’s been average or a tick below in terms of framing over the past couple of seasons and has struggled to control the running game (6-for-33 in 2019), but Sisco’s bat merits another audition at the MLB level as the rebuilding Orioles continue to assess his long-term role in the organization.
With Baltimore, Sisco will team with Pedro Severino to handle the catching duties. His left-handed bat and Severino’s right-handed bat make for a natural platoon if the O’s wish to divide playing time in that manner, and it’d be hard to completely scale back Severino’s at-bats based on how well he’s played. The 25-year-old has proven to be a waiver steal out of the Nationals organization, hitting .273/.360/.475 with five long balls and five doubles in 115 plate appearance and throwing out nine of 15 potential basestealers. He’s allowed five passed balls and posted slightly below-average framing marks, which hurts his all-around value, but the O’s have to nonetheless be thrilled with the results of that particular claim.
Beyond Severino, the Orioles have relied on the light-hitting duo of Jesus Sucre and Austin Wynns behind the dish. Wynns was optioned to Norfolk yesterday, while Sucre was removed from the 40-man roster earlier in the season but accepted an outright assignment to Norfolk. That pairing will now handle regular catching duty in Triple-A and serve as depth.