Houston Astros prospect Derek Fisher is excited to begin the season in Triple-A and playing for the Fresno Grizzlies.
Not all of his teammates can say the same.
But with this being the first time Fisher has started at minor league baseball’s highest level, the 23-year-old is elated to have cleared Double-A. He spent the majority of last season there before playing the final month with Fresno.
“It’s good to get back here,” Fisher said. “I was pretty confident this was where I was going to go. Just going back to being comfortable (from) being here at the end of last year.”
Local fans might not remember him that well, since Fisher played 16 of his 27 games with the Grizzlies last season on the road. But the outfielder has parlayed his excitement and comfort into making quite the impression to kickstart 2017.
Fisher homered in each of the first two games.
Consistency is the biggest thing in baseball. It’s not how good is your good but how bad is your bad.
Fresno Grizzlies outfielder Derek Fisher
First came an opening-day solo shot off Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Braden Shipley on Thursday.
Then a two-run homer against former Baltimore Orioles standout reliever Brian Matusz in a lefty-on-lefty matchup Friday.
Both were missile shots off the bat of the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Fisher, sailing past the 335-foot marker and over the short right-field wall.
“He’s playing with confidence,” Grizzlies manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “He’s more selective than when he got here last year but real aggressive. It looks like he really has a good idea what he’s doing at the plate.”
MLB.com rates Fisher as the No. 4 prospect in the Astros organization, with scouts impressed by his all-around ability but especially by his plate discipline and power.
Astros prospect Derek Fisher has posted 20-plus home runs and 20-plus steals each of the past two seasons in the minor leagues.
A supplemental first-round pick in 2014 out of the University of Virginia, Fisher finished with 21 homers, 28 steals, a .255 average and an .815 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 129 games last year (including his 102 in Double-A).
In 2015, he had 22 homers, 31 steals and a .275 average at the upper and lower levels of Class-A.
Fisher might have been at his most impressive this spring, when he batted .310 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 42 at-bats and stole 11 bases without getting caught.
11 Number of bases stolen by Derek Fisher during spring training and never once was caught
“I learned a lot,” Fisher said of spending spring training with the Astros rather than with the Triple-A team. “Just being around those guys and seeing how they play the game. The game is so slow (to them).”
Perhaps one of the benefits of being in Triple-A, but without major league experience so far? Players in Fisher’s position typically don’t worry about when they will earn a major league call-up nor stress about who might be next in line for a promotion.
Fisher certainly has his focus elsewhere.
“You just want to be as consistent as possible,” Fisher said. “Consistency is the biggest thing in baseball. It’s not how good is your good but how bad is your bad.
“You don’t want those bad streaks to go long. That’s something that I really want to try to work on this year. And just continue my routine and have fun and let the results speak for themselves.”
Friday night recap – Brady Rodgers picked up where he left off last season, when he was named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year. The Grizzlies rebounded from a tough opener and defeated the Reno Aces 6-1 before an announced crowd of 5,292 at Chukchansi Park.
Rodgers scattered four hits while allowing one run. He struck out four without a walk, throwing 70 pitches (49 for strikes) in six innings and picked up the win.
The Grizzlies lost 13-6 Thursday.
TRIPPLE-A: FRESNO VS. RENO
- Series: Sunday; 6:35 p.m. Monday at Chukchansi Park
- Records: Grizzlies 1-1, Aces 1-1
- Radio: KYNO (AM 1430)
- Of note: Fresno Grizzlies RH Edson Frias is scheduled to start against Aces RH Keyvius Sampson. Frias spent most of last season in Double-A. But he did suit up for the Grizzlies briefly, too, and went 1-2 with a 9.95 ERA over four starts. Sampson has spent parts of the past two seasons in the majors with the Cincinnati Reds. During his time with Triple-A Louisville last season, Sampson went 3-3 with a 1.88 ERA in 18 games, including nine starts. The 26-year-old elected free agency this offseason and signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.