Sisco making impression at, behind plate
Catching prospect’s first start in big leagues pleased Showalter
| Orioles catcher Chance Sisco didn’t get a full assessment from his manager after his first nine-inning major league stint in the Orioles’ final home game, one that included his second major league home run in limited playing time and saw him usher the pitching staff to a 9-4 win.
To Buck Showalter, that he was about to set out on the information-gathering stage by talking to the umpire and his veteran pitchers without any minuses on Sisco’s slate was positive enough for one afternoon.
“I’m getting ready to talk to the pitchers a little bit that I trust. Darren [O’Day] will have a good take on it. Of course, there isn’t a better catching instructor in baseball than John Russell. And what I noticed is that I didn’t notice him, you know what I’m saying?” Showalter said. “I’m getting ready to call home [plate umpire] Gary Cederstrom. I know Gary, and see what he thought from an umpire’s perspective. And if he says he was terrible, I still like him. But I don’t think he will.
“I thought he presented himself well. Chris [Tillman] was quick to the plate, they don’t run much on him. The [game-ending] pop-up was tough. I thought he was pretty calm with that.”
How Sisco’s defense plays at the major league level will be key to what his role is both next year and going forward. The team was encouraged that he threw out 41 percent of would-be base stealers after the All-Star break in Triple-A Norfolk, and Showalter is confident that Russell’s major league tutelage can improve Sisco’s throwing and receiving behind the plate the way it has in recent spring trainings.
His bat, he has shown, adjusts to new levels quickly. In 2016, after a full year at Double-A Bowie batting .320 with an .828 OPS, Sisco spent the final series at Norfolk and homered twice in four games. Earlier that year, he went to the All-Star Futures Game and homered there, too. Sisco entered Friday with 15 major league plate appearances and has homered twice, making it seem like he’s a quick study at the plate.
“Just trying to barrel the ball and make good contact,” he said. “I’m not looking to hit home runs — I’ve never done that in my life. If the ball goes over the fence, it does.”
It can’t be a coincidence that he’s able to quickly begin barreling the ball at a new level, and that’s a testament to his calm approach and easy swing, which has carried him to a .311 minor league batting average.
That the success has come this quickly and created a positive impression at the major league level just makes his September call-up that much more meaningful.
“Getting called up is a dream come true, and it’s just fun to be in a big league clubhouse and be in the big leagues,” Sisco said. “It’s every little kid’s dream who played Little League. It’s been awesome.”