What better way to start playing catchup on some of the off-season moves with a duo of catchers.
Wellington Castillo signed a two-year deal with a team option for a third with the White Sox. Castillo will move into the top role in Chicago with either Kevan Smith or Omar Narvaez serving as his back-up. Castillo, 30, had a career year in 2017 with twenty home runs and a .282/.323/.490 slash line. A right-handed hitter with a fairly aggressive approach who strikes out more than a quarter of the time is quite likely to see his derived stats (batting average and on-base percentage) slip a bit as they regress more towards his career norms. The power, however, remains generally real and though a decline in HR/FB could occur, his total count could indeed climb if he manages to stay on the field with fewer injuries in 2018.
Meanwhile back in Baltimore, the move leaves a clear path for Chance Sisco to grab the starting job. A long-time top prospect of the O’s, the 22-year old was a former second-round draft pick 2013. His defense has garnered mixed reviews, though he has made improvements there. While we in the fantasy world are mostly concerned with his bat, it’s his defense that will keep him in the lineup, especially with a manager like Buck Showalter manning the helm. At the plate, Sisco has a patient approach and emerging upper single digit to mid-teens home run power. He was noted for his contact-making abilities earlier in his career, but his strikeout rates jumped significantly at Triple-A this past year (26%) and he produced a very pedestrian .267/.340/.395 line there. If Sisco is going to be the long-term future behind the plate for the Orioles, it may require some patience by both fantasy players and his organization to see him fulfill his high-draft pedigree potential. Right now, to expect better than mediocre output as he adjusts to the gruel of being behind the plate most days as well as having to face MLB-caliber pitching is unreasonable.