I try to make sure the bar is available after most wins.
Therefore, it’s been a slow three months here at the Tap Room. It seems like we’ve been open as often as Ravens receivers.
Finally, the Orioles won a game Sunday, their first in 10 tries, snapping a string of 11-straight defeats at home, which tied a club record.
At least these guys are respective of their elders; their last two home wins have been blowouts on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. (By the way, the Orioles lost 2-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays on Siblings Day, April 10).
After Sunday’s game, the club announced that rookie catcher Chance Sisco was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
In a sense, it’s no surprise. He was batting .218 on the season and had 50 strikeouts in 141 plate appearances. In the past four weeks, he’s hit .200 with one extra-base hit and 16 strikeouts in 54 plate appearances – although he walked seven times in that span for a .407 on-base percentage.
So, there were still things to like about Sisco offensively, even though he wasn’t driving the ball.
Defensively, Sisco’s shine had dulled, too. He threw out 10 of 36 (28 percent) would-be basestealers – a tick above the AL average — but that stat has been skewed by his standout early performance. He started the season by nabbing half of the first 18 runners that tried to steal on him. He’s thrown one of the last 18, however.
He only has one passed ball so far this season, but there have been 14 wild pitches while he’s been catching – not statistically his fault, but his blocking certainly could improve, too.
The bottom line is this is what you’re gonna get with a 23-year-old catcher in his first full season in the big leagues. Catcher is like no other position; there is so much that must be handled all at once: Calming pitchers, calling pitches, blocking balls, curtailing runners. Oh, and then you are expected to hit, too.
Given that, Sisco held his own. But it became clearer that he could use everyday playing time to work on things. And it was also clear he wasn’t getting that opportunity in Baltimore right now (besides his OBP, prospect status and age, it’s hard to argue that he earned that opportunity, frankly.)
That’s kind of my question today: The issue of wrestling with what’s better for a young kid with talent.
Sisco had a great spring with the bat and deserved to make the team on Opening Day, but even then I probably would have left him in Triple-A to play almost every day.
He ultimately carved out more playing time with the Orioles, especially when incumbent Caleb Joseph was sent to Norfolk in May in what was a curious decision at best (Joseph had finally started hitting when demoted).
But Sisco still wasn’t made a full-timer, not with Andrew Susac and then Austin Wynns also handling backstop duties.
Now, Joseph is coming back to the majors and Sisco is going down, presumably to play and play and play some more.
That’s probably the right call, because I think Sisco is mentally strong enough to handle the demotion and to improve on his weaknesses. It should be good for him, competing in a lower-stress environment.
The flip side, though, is that this season in already ruined. It should be a time when the young guys with upside should get a ton of playing time with the Orioles; sending Sisco down now seems counterproductive to that concept.
Again, to me, this would be the time to recall Sisco from Norfolk after he has flourished for a couple months in the minors. But the Orioles chose not to go that direction in March. I could certainly see that argument then.
And I see both sides of this argument now.
Sisco will be fine in the future. He knows what he needs to improve on to return, and he has the work ethic to do it. But I wouldn’t be opposed to allowing him to sink or swim in the majors on a dismal team, either.
What do you think?
Tap-In Question: Is the demotion of Sisco smart for his development or counterproductive for his future?