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Fisher's three-run shot sets tone in AFL win

Astros' No. 8 prospect hits his second Fall League homer for Desert Dogs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Derek Fisher's sweet left-handed swing made him a supplemental first-round pick in 2014 and helped him bash 22 homers in his first full pro season. But it hadn't translated into much in the way of Arizona Fall League production until Thursday night.

The Astros corner outfielder had hit just .171/.333/.268 in his first 12 games for the Glendale Desert Dogs when he stepped to the plate in the top of the first inning. Fisher swung and missed at a 95-mph fastball on the first pitch from Salt River Rafters right-hander Yoan Lopez, the D-backs' No. 5 prospect, then unloaded on a hanging 87-mph changeup. His blast landed on the second tier of the batting eye at Salt River Fields, 30 feet up and 427 feet from home plate.

Fisher said his second homer of the AFL season might have been the longest he ever has hit.

"I kind of blacked out," he said jokingly. "It felt great. I've been struggling in the Fall League, but I haven't beat myself up about it. I've done a lot of work in the cage and I felt like it has paid off. I put a good swing on it."

Fisher's blast was the biggest blow in an 11-7 Desert Dogs victory. The Rafters pitched him carefully afterward, walking him in three of his final four plate appearances.

Fisher, Houston's No. 8 prospect, helped Virginia to a runner-up finish at the 2014 College World Series before signing for $1,534,100 as the 37th overall pick. After the Carlos Gomez /Mike Fiers trade sent Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana to the Brewers in July, Fisher became the most advanced outfield prospect in the Astros system. He projects as a solid hitter for average as well as power, and he also has good speed.

He said he isn't worrying about his AFL numbers and is just focusing on improving his game.

"I came out here and just wanted to have good at-bats, swing at good pitches, get in good counts," Fisher said. "I was doing that in the early going and then I got into a rut. I feel like I've been getting better in the last week."

Aided in large part by Fisher's three-run homer, Glendale built a 6-1 lead through three innings against Lopez. Signed for $8.27 million in January, Lopez had a rough pro debut and his struggles have continued in the AFL. He gave up six runs (five earned) on five hits and four walks, striking out six but seeing his ERA swell to 5.18.

The Rafters rallied to tie the game in the fourth inning with five runs, three on bases-loaded walks. Shortstop Chan Jong Moon (Astros) snapped the deadlock with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, and the Desert Dogs cruised from there. Glendale (11-12) pulled to within 3 1/2 games of the Surprise Saguaros in the West Division, while Salt River (13-11) dropped to three behind the Scottsdale Scorpions in the East.

AFL batting leader Adam Engel, the No. 17 prospect in White Sox organization, led off the game for the Desert Dogs with his first homer of the fall. He went 1-for-4 afterward, finishing the night with a .417 average. Third baseman J.D. Davis, the Astros' No. 12 prospect, also homered and drove in three runs for Glendale.

Jim Callis is a reporter for Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter.