With plenty of options on the free agent market, do the Astros sign one to play left field or let Derek Fisher play?
With spring training less than a month away, there are not that many battles on the loaded Astros roster. If you are a starting pitcher outside of the top five pitchers, good luck. If you play one of the infield spots, better luck next year. After winning the World Series, there are not likely going to be any surprise players on the 25-man roster.
One of the positions that could fluctuate a little this year is left field. Several players will get playing time out there, including right fielder Josh Reddick. George Springer will be the primary centerfielder but will play right field from time to time. The Astros will welcome back Jake Marisnick, who will play center field when he plays. Marwin Gonzalez will play in the outfield from time to time as well.
That’s what is good about the Astros roster. There is so much positional flexibility from all the players. Derek Fisher has played all three positions in the minor leagues, but will likely be limited to left field this year. A.J. Hinch likes to move his players around the field. Marisnick has always found a way to get into 100 plus games. Sometimes he comes in as a late inning defensive replacement., other games he starts in center field.
Playing time for Gonzalez will be regular, but not every game. Hinch will rest his regulars, so there is not a big need for a full-time guy out there. However, Fisher will be a regular in left field unless the Astros sign Carlos Gonzalez. His time in the big leagues has been limited, but he has hit all five MLB homers off right-handed pitchers.
What can we expect?
While Triple-A stats are just that, let’s take a look at Fisher’s splits in 2017.
Marisnick can also hit right-handers well, but the Astros will probably give Fisher the bulk of the playing time at first. Fisher will probably sit versus left-handed pitchers, with Margo and Marisnick playing in the outfield. Fisher stole 19 bases between Triple-A and the Astros, so he could potentially be the ninth hitter. Think of him as a second leadoff hitter.
Looking around at what the experts are projecting, they have him hitting 11-25 homers. He could probably hit between .240-.250 with 20-30 steals. This all depends on how often he plays. If Marisnick gets hot, then you can see him getting more playing time. There are so many unknowns with Fisher at this point, which is why the Astros will give him a shot to see what he can do.
With Kyle Tucker on the horizon, they will see what Fisher can do. If he does well, he could turn himself into a good trade piece. As much as I think the Astros are looking for a veteran hitter, let Fisher earn his keep. Listen to us discuss this and more on tonight’s Talking Stros at 7pm CT.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***