Chance Sisco trying to prove his offense exists
Exhibition games aren’t even a week old yet, but one player on the Baltimore Orioles roster is trying to show he’s worth an Opening Day spot. Although it’s projected that Chance Sisco will head north with the team to New York on Opening Day in 28 days, the competition is still fierce to decide who is the starting catcher and who is the backup.
Roster Resource is projecting Sisco to be the starting catcher and through three Grapefruit League games, he’s trying to show his skill-set at the plate has much improved since last season. Although the sample size is rather small, his start to Grapefruit League action is worth talking about.
Opening the exhibition season behind the dish last Saturday, Sisco’s first swing of the 2019 season was loud. Very loud. He launched a 2-0 fastball from Twins starter Chase De Jong over the right-center field fence, giving the Orioles a 3-0 lead in the first inning. His next at-bat, he was able to work a walk and finished his day going 1-for-1 with three RBI.
Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays, he played in his second game but went 0-for-2. He was called out on strikes in his first at-bat, then flied out to left field in his second. However, starting yesterday’s game in Fort Myers, he was responsible for five of the seven runs the Orioles scored, en route to a 7-5 victory.
With shortstop Richie Martin aboard at first, Sisco hammered his second home run of the spring on a deep fly ball to center field. ““I feel good right now,” Sisco told MASN’s Roch Kubatko.” His good feeling continued into his second at-bat in the top of the fourth. After Martin singled, Sisco launched another home run, this one over the right-center field fence, giving the Orioles a 4-1 lead.
“Obviously after a day like that I guess you could say that,” Sisco told Kubatko in reference to feeling good. “But just focusing on having good at-bats, putting the barrel on the ball, like I always say, and trying to have good at-bats.” One of the things Sisco was looking forward to working on this spring was his swing. After a 2018 campaign that saw him appear in just 63 games at the Major League level and receive two Minor League demotions, he was determined to improve his offense.
“I’m always working on everything,” Sisco told Orioles productions media on February 19. “Refining the catching skills, refining my swing and just paying attention to the small detail and just trying to get those things down so when the season starts, we’re just on auto-pilot from there.”
He wants to make the team and make sure he’s the everyday catcher for the Orioles in 2019 and beyond. In regards to any personal goals he has for this season, Sisco said, “It’s always to be playing as much as possible and to stay healthy. Obviously, I want to be playing everyday and as much as possible, like I said.”
Sisco had been working out at the Ed Smith Stadium complex for about a month prior to pitchers and catchers reporting on February 12. “I lived down here this offseason,” he said. “It was nice to be able to be here and be around the complex all year, just to be settled in when camp started.”
The extra work has paid off over his first three games as he’s gone 4-for-6 with eight RBI. Certainly the first three games won’t translate into much if his success at the plate isn’t consistent over the spring. It will be interesting to see if his refined swing translates into sustained success – not only throughout the spring, but into the season as well.