Houston Astros: What’s Next for Derek Fisher?
By Eric Huysman
Houston Astros’ Prospect Derek Fisher has a Bright Future.
It must have been a rough couple of days for Houston Astros prospect Derek Fisher as he was originally part of the of the Ken Giles trade. As most prospects who are traded, he probably was upset that he would not be part of the team that drafted him. He probably got himself pumped up for the new opportunity with the Phillies as they do an Astros’ like rebuild, thinking he might get to the big leagues quicker. He probably thought that the Phillies wanted him to be part of their future, that’s why they traded for him.
When the trade finally was made official, Fisher was probably surprised that he was no longer included in the Giles trade, it was Mark Appel who was traded in his stead. Was that the reason for the delay in the trade? Did the Astros want to hold onto Fisher so much that they reworked the trade to hold onto him? Only Jeff Luhnow knows that answer, but we do know that Fisher seemed relieved with a Tweet that simply said, “#HustleTown.”
What’s next for the seventh-ranked Astros prospect by MLB Pipeline following the trade Giles trade. According to JJ Cooper of Baseball-America, Appel was the better prospect over Fisher, but not by much. Appel has disappointed in his time with the Astros system but showed promise at times. The Astros are not short on pitching talent, even after losing five pitchers in the trade. They are short on major league ready talent with recent trades of Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana, so retaining Fisher was good for the immediate future for the Astros.
Fisher has something that upper-level Astros outfielders don’t really have, he has Carlos Gomez speed and power combination. Fisher was drafted in the competitive balance round (1st round, #37) of the 2014 MLB Draft, which was acquired by the Astros from the Baltimore Orioles in the Bud Norris trade. He has moved relatively quickly through the minors in his two seasons as he finished last year playing in Lancaster (High-A) after starting as the star of Quad Cities.
Between Quad Cities and Lancaster, Fisher batted .275/ 106 runs/ 22 homers/ 87 RBI/ 31 stolen bases according to Baseball-Reference. While Lancaster is considered a hitters heaven (16 homers of the 22), Fisher hit for a better average in his time with the River Bandits. Fisher had a breakout game in his first game with the Jethawks, he went 4-6 with three homers and 12 runs batted in. I asked Phillips what it was like to hit in front of Fisher that night, here is his response, “the dude looked like Barry Bonds last night, no joke!”
Tony Kemp, Andrew Aplin, and Teoscar Hernandez might be ahead of Fisher regarding experience. Hernandez has a similar skill set to Fisher but struggled last year with getting on base. Aplin and Kemp are more speedy outfielder types; they don’t have the power that Fisher has. Fisher will probably start off in Double-A Corpus Christi to begin 2016, and may even get a promotion to Triple-A Fresno as this has been his pattern thus far in the minors. Fisher could be a 2016 September call-up, but the Astros may not want to start his arbitration clock yet.
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With Carlos Gomez and Colby Rasmus both free-agents following the 2016 season, Fisher could be in the mix to replace these players. He may not make the team out of spring training in 2017, but he will make a Carlos Correa or George Springer like debut a little later. If he gets the cup of tea with the Astros in 2016, it might increase his chances of playing opening day 2017. It all depends on what Luhnow decides to do to replace Rasmus and Gomez. Don’t sleep on Jake Marisnick or Preston Tucker either.
There are some Astros fans out there that feel that Fisher’s fate is written on the wall, and he is a valuable trade asset that the Astros could use to acquire a major league piece they need before the start of the season or at the 2016 trade deadline. The Astros traded a similar player to Fisher in Phillips, so it’s a possibility that he could still be traded. The Astros have 2015 first round picks Kyle Tucker and Daz Cameron still in Rookie Ball, so they could eventually push Fisher out of the picture.
Next: Astros Deal for Giles, give up Appel, Velasquez to Phillies
The Astros have 2015 first round picks Kyle Tucker and Daz Cameron still in Rookie Ball, so they could eventually force Fisher out of the picture. Fisher played well in the Arizona Fall league in 2015, had a .821 OPS with two homers and 14 RBI’s in 17 games. If there are not any stud free agent outfielders following the 2016 season, the Astros could have to lean on Fisher if no one else stands out.