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Sisco Will Get A Chance



Chance Sisco (Photo by Cliff Welch) Chance Sisco (Photo by Cliff Welch)

BALTIMORE—The Orioles are preparing for life after Matt Wieters and their vision of the future includes top catcher prospect Chance Sisco.

The only question is whether Sisco will be ready to break camp with the team in 2017 or need more seasoning at Triple-A Norfolk.

Sisco, whom the Orioles drafted in the second round in 2013, appeared in just four games at Norfolk this summer, homering twice and driving in seven runs over 16 at-bats. The lefthanded batter turns 22 in February, but the Orioles will give him a chance to win a job in spring training.

The Orioles are checking the free agent and trade markets for a veteran catcher available on a short-term deal, but Sisco has earned consideration.

"We do like the depth that we have throughout the organization,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "Don’t forget that we have Sisco, who’s a .322 lifetime hitter who has .400 on-base capability and did pretty well at Double-A and went to Triple-A at the end of the year and showed some power to the opposite field.”

Sisco’s power still is developing and he hasn’t hit more than six home runs in a season.

The knock on Sisco, a prep product of Corona, Calif., has been his work behind the plate, his bat being way ahead of his mitt. But the gap is closing.

"I think he’s a work in progress with his defense,” Duquette said. "He handles the pitchers pretty well. And what we’re finding from the metrics is that your left hand is as important as your right hand and probably more important as you receive the ball and frame the pitches.

"Sisco has good leadership ability. He has quick feet and he’s got a good arm, though he’s going to need to improve his release times. But his on-base capability, his ability to hit, those are all pluses that he has going into the season.”

BIRD SEED

Double-A Bowie pitching coach Alan Mills became the new big league bullpen coach, while Roger McDowell was hired as Baltimore's pitching coach.

Francisco-Mejia-2017-bm

2018 Position Rankings: Catchers

This year's catcher class is deep with a mix of offensive and defensive backstops.

Righthander Matt Hobgood, the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft, is trying to make a comeback as a hitter. He had another shoulder surgery in 2015 and didn’t pitch this season. He recorded a 4.98 ERA in 110 minor league games.

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