As the Orioles are zeroing in on completing deals with almost every player drafted in the Top 10, they officially announced the signing of California high school catcher Chance Sisco on Thursday.
Sisco, selected in the second round, signed for $785,000, which is under the $913,300 bonus slotted, according to an industry source.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Sisco will play for the rookie Gulf Coast League Orioles. He passed his physical earlier this week and flew to Sarasota, Fla., where he participated in his first workout Thursday morning.
“It’s been surreal, crazy,” said Sisco, who caught a few bullpens, went through drills and took some batting practice in Sarasota on Thursday. “It’s kind of been a whirlwind.”
Sisco, an 18-year-old from Corona, Calif., was a shortstop and third baseman in his prep career at Santiago High School before making the full-time transition to catcher this season. A left-handed hitter with a power bat -- he hit .467 as a high school senior with a .747 slugging percentage -- Sisco’s stock rose as his catching improved.
“There wasn’t a lot of convincing needed, I wanted to do it,” said Sisco, who didn’t make an error behind the plate in 2013. “The change was great. It came pretty easy. But I put a lot of hard work into it.”
He has a strong arm -- he threw out 15 would-be basestealers this year -- but said he is still working on his footwork and receiving skills.
“I had to work on my footwork; I wasn’t really used to that,” Sisco said. “I have improved a lot since when I first started. That was probably the biggest challenge I’ve had to learn. Receiving pitches, too, but footwork was probably the hardest thing.”
He is one of four catchers the Orioles selected in the first 10 rounds this year -- including three out of high school -- and all four have signed. Sisco, who said he expects to stay at catcher, had committed to play at the University of Oregon. But eschewed college for a chance to get his career started.
“I wanted to play pro ball. I didn’t want to pass up this opportunity right now,” Sisco said. “It’s always been what I want to do.”