Astros 2014 Comp. Pick Profile: Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia

A college outfielder with tools beyond his stats. There is still a lot of potential that has yet to be tapped into.

Summary

It's rare to find a college player with upside beyond what he's shown at the collegiate level. The Astros did that in 2011 when they drafted George Springer. They did it again in 2014 with their 1-37 pick in Derek Fisher.

Disclaimer: I am not comparing Fisher to Springer as a player, but in the very generalistic profile of toolsy college players whose stats have not caught up to their tools.

Originally, Fisher was drafted three years ago by the Texas Rangers in the sixth round. He has struggled in all three years at Virginia for several reasons. Most notably this year with a broken hammate bone in his right hand. You may remember that hitters tend to lose their power for several months following a broken hammate bone.

He hit between .281 and .293 in his three years at UVa. He hit seven home runs in each of his freshman and sophomore seasons but due to missing time, he only hit three this year. He has shown an ability to draw walks up to 10% of the time, although less this year. He has a respectable strikeout rate as well that is slightly higher than the walk rate. The key for him is that he led the Cap Cod League in OBP last year and at age of 20, he's still very young for a college player and has not tapped into his power yet. Seven home runs as a freshman and sophomore are good signs.

He's posted times to first as low as 4.03 which is plus speed out of the box. He stole 13 bases in the Cape but was not much of a base stealer at Virginia.

Between his speed and above average arm, he could potentially play centerfield, despite being a left-fielder in college. I imagine he'll at least be tried out there and right-field. He played left in college due to other athletes being able to fill it better than him.

For a 6'3", 210 pounder, he's a great athlete and lots of tools. He has a good weight shift in his left handed swing, but could stand to do better with coordinating his arms and hips as he's not getting great force transmission to his arms from that weight shift. He could have a 65 bat in both average and power. I don't know if I buy those grades, raw maybe, but true projection, not really. With 70 speed, thats a great value for a 1-37 pick.

Floor

His pure athleticism can help him be a 4th/5th outfielder as his arm is at least strong enough to play right temporarily. He has plus speed which should allow him to fill in at center as well.

Ceiling

Probably a .270-.290 hitter with 25-30 home runs. Add in about 15 stolen bases and .350 OBP is a very good player. That could hold down LF.

Will he sign?

He's young enough to not be the super old senior next year and he would almost be guaranteed a better statistical performance next year. However, the reason his team is in the Super Regionals are the loaded offense that will not be returning with him. He should sign.

Bibliography

Prospect Insider

Offensively, Fisher shows impact bat speed and hand quickness with a simple, almost passive bent ankle stride. In batting practice Fisher shows solid-average power, though he’ll collapse his back side to get to it. In games, his swing plane is much more contact/groundball oriented and level. Fisher showed some issues with recognition of secondary stuff on Friday but tracked well the rest of the weekend. There are mechanical adjustments to be made here — lengthen the stride, emphasize torque, cut out the soft front ankle roll that occurs during contact, maybe alter the bat path to squeeze more power out of him — which makes projecting Fisher’s offensive potential rather difficult. He appears to have the athleticism to make adjustments like this and be an average hitter with solid-average power.

MLB.com

One of the top high school hitting prospects in the 2011 Draft, Fisher lasted until the sixth round because of signability concerns, and he turned down a substantial offer from the Rangers to attend Virginia. Fisher failed to hit .300 in his first two seasons with the Cavaliers but took a step forward in the Cape Cod League last summer, cutting down on his strikeouts and leading the best summer college circuit with a .453 on-base percentage. Before he got to show how much that would carry over, Fisher went down with a broken hamate bone in his right hand 15 games into the season. He did return after six weeks and homered in his second and third games back. He has shown more pop at Virginia than he did with wood bats on the Cape, and he projects as a plus hitter in terms of both average and raw power.

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