The Houston Astros announced on Wednesday that they will promote outfielder Derek Fisher to the Major Leagues before the team's game against the Rangers. After having his contract purchased from Triple-A Fresno, he will take the roster spot of Josh Reddick, who has been placed on the seven-day disabled list
The Houston Astros announced on Wednesday that they will promote outfielder Derek Fisher to the Major Leagues before the team's game against the Rangers. After having his contract purchased from Triple-A Fresno, he will take the roster spot of Josh Reddick, who has been placed on the seven-day disabled list after suffering a concussion on Tuesday.
Fisher, the Astros' No. 4 prospect and No. 72 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 list, gets the call after producing a .335/.401/.608 batting line with 16 home runs, 45 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 60 games with Triple-A Fresno.
Fisher, 23, recorded 25 multihit games during his time with the Grizzlies and had recorded hits in 16 of his past 17 contests while hitting .386/.456/.743 with six homers in that span.
The Astros selected Fisher with the No. 37 overall pick in the supplemental first round of 2014 Draft, targeting the University of Virginia outfielder for his combination of loud tools and untapped potential at the plate.
After signing for $1,534,100, Fisher showcased the power-speed combination that had endeared him to Houston's scouts by hitting .275 with 22 homers and 31 steals in 123 games between Class A Quad Cities and Class A Advanced Lancaster in his first full professional season.
Fisher continued to make strides in 2016, spending much of the season with Double-A Corpus Christi before advancing to Fresno in early August. Though his average dipped to .255 against the upper-level competition last year, Fisher still turned in his second straight 20-20 season, totaling 21 homers and 28 steals in 129 games between the two levels. He also reached base at a .367 clip, thanks largely to a career-high 83 walks.
As for Fisher's tools, there is no player in the Astros' system who can match the 6-foot-3, 205-pound outfielder's present combination of above-average power and plus speed. Fisher has a smooth left-handed stroke and plenty of bat speed, with the requisite strength to hit the ball out of the park to all fields. That being said, he does become pull-happy at times, leading to too many weakly hit ground balls to the right side of the field.
The biggest knock on Fisher's game is that he doesn't have a particularly strong feel to hit -- a notion reflected by his perennially high whiff rates and career strikeout rate of 23.6 percent.
After fanning at 19.9 and 23.2 percent clips in his first two seasons, respectively, Fisher's strikeout rate jumped to a career-high 27.2 percent in 2016 with Corpus Christi and Fresno. However, because he sees a lot of pitches and regularly works deep counts, Fisher was able to mitigate his lack of consistent contact with an excellent 14.7 percent walk rate, up from 11.6 percent the previous year.
The 2017 season has seen Fisher cut down on some of those strikeouts in his return to the Pacific Coast League, where, at the time of his promotion, he owned a much-improved 19.3 percent strikeout rate (with a solid 9.1 percent walk rate) through 275 plate appearances.
Equally impressive as Fisher's power is his speed -- which receives a 60 grade from scouts on the 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is considered Major League average -- and it enables him to make an impact on both sides of the ball.
On the basepaths, Fisher's plus wheels make him a candidate to swipe 20 bags annually as he did in his first two full-season campaigns. He hasn't been particularly efficient this season, going 13-for-23 in steal attempts for Fresno, though it's hard to discount Fisher's 89 stolen bases in 117 attempts (76.1 percent) in 354 career Minor League games.
In the outfield, Fisher is a fringy defender who gets inconsistent jumps and reads, but has experience at all three outfield positions. He's spent much of his career in either center or left field due to his speed and due to the fact his below-average arm strength is not an ideal fit in right. During his time with Fresno this season, Fisher appeared in 37 games in center field, 11 in left field, six in right field and six at designated hitter.
Fisher should receive a chance to play often in the short term while Reddick remains sidelined with a concussion. And with a commanding lead in the American League West thanks to a 44-22 record, the Astros are comfortably in a position to give him an opportunity.
What's more, Fisher's success against left-handed pitching this season (.339/.422/.571), all while reducing his overall whiff rate, suggests that he could receive the majority of starts in left field for Houston, especially with current left fielder Norichika Aoki hitting .273 with a .658 OPS through 46 games.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.