Is Derek Fisher a part of the Astros’ Future?
As top prospects in the Astros organization are getting promoted in bunches, the stars of tomorrow are finding their permanent place at Minute Maid Park. With more major league spots filled up for the long haul, some prospects in the top 30 may be the odd man out when it comes to a major league roster spot.
This overabundance is shown most in the outfield. With a plethora of outfielder prospects, such as Teoscar Hernandez, Tony Kemp and possibly Alex Bregman getting a chance to prove their ability in an Astros uniform. They also have top prospects such as Daz Cameron, Kyle Tucker, and Ronnie Dawson on the way. The other three outfielders at Triple-A Fresno seem to be on the outside looking in for the future.
Derek Fisher Could be the Future
Unless he produces at a freakishly high level in his first stint at Triple-A, the number eight prospect Derek Fisher is in the same boat. Drafted in the first round out of the University of Virginia, Fisher was expected to be a corner outfielder with a power bat and some speed in the middle of the lineup. In his minor league career. He has provided just that. In his 102 games in Double-A Corpus Christi this season, Fisher has 33 extra base hits. These include 16 home runs, and has driven in 59 runs while swiping 23 bags in 30 attempts.
However, the main thing that Fisher has struggled with is getting the ball in play. As to be expected from a hitter going through each level of the minors, Fisher’s batting average has consistently decreased each year. With a .269 career batting average, Fisher came to Fresno hitting .245 this year at Corpus Christi.
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He has shown patience at the plate. With a career high in walks in 2016 with 74, Fisher had a very respectable .373 on-base percentage in Double-A.
However, in his first four games in Triple-A, that patience has evaporated. He has struck out five times in his 17 at-bats and had a .235 average. His extra base power has not shown up either, with three of his four hits being singles.
Every hitter that has made their debut for the Astros this season have had a warning sign about their production in the minor leagues. Most of them revolved around one thing, their strikeout numbers. Fisher is no different. In 2016 with Double-A Corpus Christi, Fisher struck out 128 times in 448 at-bats, making a strikeout percentage of 28.1%.
Fisher will have to get off to a hot start in 2017.
As A.J. Reed, a fellow left-handed power bat can tell you, no matter how much patience a batter has in the minor leagues; the major leagues will be a true awakening for a bat. Without a spot at the major league level, Fisher’s name may not be called unless he plays his way onto a major league roster.
Other than that, this top 10 prospect’s future may not be in the Astros organization. With the Astros trying to build a contender for years to come, Fisher’s name could be floating around as trade bait in a package deal for a pitcher such as Jose Quintana or Chris Archer.
As many so-called “Four-A” players on the Fresno roster such as Jon Singleton and Brad Peacock can tell you, the majors are a different animal. Fisher’s offensive production is going to have to improve drastically before he is packing his bags to come to Houston.
***Stats provided by Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs, and MiLB.com***