Sisco's progression takes him to Futures Game

No. 3 O's prospect will be on display Sunday in San Diego

Sisco's progression takes him to Futures Game

BALTIMORE -- For Orioles catching prospect Chance Sisco, Sunday's Sirius/XM All-Star Futures Game in San Diego will be a homecoming of sorts. In 2013, Baltimore drafted Sisco in the second round out of Santiago High School in Corona, Calif., which is about 100 miles north of Petco Park.

The 18th annual game will be part of the All-Star Game festivities again this year, broadcast live from Petco Park on MLB Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Sunday. Let's spotlight the players with the best individual tools on the U.S. and World squads.

But the invitation to be part of the U.S. team, as one of its two catchers, also speaks to the progress Sisco has made in his four years in the organization. Sisco, rated as the Orioles' No. 3 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, has continued to find success at the plate in his first full season with Double-A Bowie, and the O's feel he is making strides behind the dish as well.

"He's young, and he's improving," said Dan Duquette, Baltimore's executive vice president of baseball operations. "He's making steady progress. He's a really good hitter, and we got his feet wet in Double-A at the end of last year, and he was part of the team that won the Eastern League championship, so that was a good experience for him.

"This year he's continued to hit well, and he's improving his defensive skills every day. Catching is a tough position. It's a skill position. But he's making good progress."

Sisco's home-run power has not yet developed in pro ball. However, he batted .363 with a .468 on-base percentage between two levels in 2013, .340 with a .406 OBP at Class-A Delmarva the next year and .308 with a .387 OBP at Class A-advanced Frederick last season before the late promotion to Bowie.

In 71 games this season, the 21-year-old left-handed batter owns a .307/.397/.398 line, with 18 doubles and one homer. An Eastern League All-Star, Sisco entered Saturday fourth on the circuit in batting average and third in OBP.

"He has a good eye, good strength, good on-base capability," Duquette said. "Uses the whole field, and you're going to see him hit for power as he matures."

There are more questions about whether Sisco's defense will allow him to remain behind the plate, although Duquette said his young catcher's footwork and game-calling both are continuing to get better.

Pitcher Jason Garcia had worked with Sisco at Bowie all season before the Orioles called him up on Saturday. He described his teammate as a hard worker and someone who seems more mature than his years.

"I enjoy throwing to Sisco," Garcia said. "I had him in the [Arizona] Fall League, too, so I got to know him and throw to him quite a bit out there. He calls a good game, he's a wall back there and he can really hit. He does some damage in the box. Good teammate, good catcher. I have nothing but good things to say about him."

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Washington metro area. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.