Sisco Grows In First Full Professional Season
By Dave Roberts
When the Major League Baseball Draft was instituted in 1965, the rules for player eligibility were created with the idea in mind to protect the young players who sought to have professional baseball careers. In the case of Jake Sisco it did just that as a year’s wait allowed him to move up 34 rounds in the draft. Now he is currently pitching in his second professional season of baseball in the Cleveland Indians organization and currently named their 18 best prospect in the organization according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.
Jake Sisco, a Salida California native, played his high school ball at Grace Davis High School in Modesto California where he posted a record of 9-3 with a 1.00 ERA while striking out 114 in his senior year. After high school graduation, the San Francisco Giants made him their 37th round pick in the 2010 draft. “I thought about going yes,” Sisco said. “But they didn’t offer me any money so they basically wanted me to go to junior college and see how I did.”
The following year Sisco picked up and enrolled at Merced Community College in California and the move clearly paid dividends for the young right-hander. He was dominant throughout the season posting an 11-1 record with a 1.66 ERA while striking out 124 and only walking 33 in 108.1 innings pitched. He led the league in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts. He was an integral member in helping Merced with the Central Conference Title and was named Norcal All-American and Pitcher of the Year.
Of course possibly the biggest improvement the year in junior college brought Sisco was seen in the draft when the Cleveland Indians made him their 3rd round pick in the 2011 draft. “Yea, I have to give a lot of credit to my junior college pitching coach,” Sisco said. “He helped a lot with everything, and it paid off a lot because I moved up 34 rounds.”
The Indians soon signed the 19 year old for $325,000 and sent him out to get a full season in the Arizona League. He made 12 appearances, eight of which were starts. He posted a 2-4 record to the tune of a 5.24 ERA while striking out 31 and walking just 17 in 34.1 innings. The early signing paid off big for Sisco giving him the ability to get a taste of professional baseball. “It was good getting my feet wet; I appreciated the opportunity to get out and into pro ball.”
Fast forward to the 2012 season and the 20-year-old Sisco was assigned to short season Single-A Mahoning Valley Scrappers where he has taken the mound four times so far this season. On the season Sisco has a record of 0-1 with a 3.32 ERA through 19 innings of work in which he’s struck out nine and walked 11. The biggest difference seen early on for him is the batting average against as opponents are batting just .254 against the young righty compared to the .303 opponents put up a year ago in Arizona.
More recently, Sisco has demonstrated the ability to not allow runs to score when the hits pileup. “It’s a lot different, people are patient with more discipline than Arizona,” Sisco said. “You really have to bear down and make your pitches count.”
Sisco uses a four-pitch arsenal that features a fastball, curveball, slider and a changeup. The fastball that can buzz in around the mid 90’s was for a long time his feature pitch but through work this year his others have evolved along with it to complement his heat. “They are all working pretty good right now,” Sisco said. “The fastball was my best pitch until lately, curveball, slider and change are all progressing”.
The continuing trend Sisco has been showing on the mound lately is hopefully the trend that will continue throughout the season for the young right-hander. Often times when a young player finds their mechanics everything just falls into place and paves the way for a solid season of development. “The last few games have been feeling more comfortable on the mind and with my mechanics,” Sisco said. “I feel if I’m comfortable with my mechanics I’ll have the kind of season I want to have.”