Fishing for the most Underrated Prospect dealt at the Deadline

The July 31st trade deadline has passed, and over 50 prospects have been assigned new homes, most notably Taylor Trammell (Trevor Bauer trade), Jazz Chisholm (Zac Gallen trade), and Jesus Sanchez (Nick Anderson trade). However, there is one prospect who was dealt this month whom I feel experts are strongly underrating. For now, let’s call him “Mystery Player.”

2019 Stats

Average exit velocity (per Baseball Savant)

Average exit velocity (mph)
Aaron Judge97.9
Giancarlo Stanton96.5
Mystery Player94.8
Nelson Cruz94.2
Christian Yelich93.5
Shohei Ohtani93.3
Josh Donaldson93.0
Joey Gallo93.0

Barrels / Batted Ball Event % (per Baseball Savant)

Brls/BBE %
Josh Bell13.1
Cody Bellinger13.1
Fernando Tatis Jr.13.0
Freddie Freeman13.0
Mystery Player12.8
Carlos Correa12.8
J.D. Martinez12.0
Matt Chapman11.7

Sprint Speed (per Baseball Savant)

ft/sec
Jose Altuve28.6
Christian Yelich28.6
Tim Anderson28.6
Ozzie Albies28.5
Mystery Player28.4
Jarrod Dyson28.4
Dee Gordon28.3
George Springer28.2

Z-Contact % (per FanGraphs)

Z-Contact %
Christian Yelich86.8
Juan Soto86.7
Ozzie Albies86.6
Mystery Player86.4
Corey Seager86.4
Whit Merrifield86.3
Austin Meadows86.0
Yordan Alvarez85.2

Now, at this point, you’re probably scratching your head, unable to think of who this player could possibly be. We do know a few things: he’s hitting the ball extremely hard and making contact with a high percentage of pitches in the strike zone, not to mention he is fleet footed.

The mystery player is…

Derek Fisher

Yesterday, the Toronto Blue Jays traded reliever Joe Biagini, right-handed starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez, and outfielder Cal Stevenson to Houston Astros in exchange for outfielder Derek Fisher. This trade, and practically every other deal completed on the 31st, was overshadowed by the gigantic Zack Greinke trade.

It is clear in looking at this trade that the Blue Jays must value Derek Fisher as a future everyday player, especially when you consider that Sanchez and Biagini are both under control for multiple seasons (Sanchez – 1 additional season; Biagini – 3 additional seasons), and after the deal, Stevenson, who has hit to the tune of a 137 wRC+ in single-A advanced this year, became the Astros’ 34th best prospect according to FanGraphs.

As we examined earlier on, Fisher’s advanced metrics suggest he is a better hitter than his simple stats would illustrate.

  • AVG: .226
  • OBP: .317
  • SLG: .358
  • wOBA: .298
  • wRC+: 86

His xStats, which are based on batted ball data, provide a more clear picture of what his batting line should resemble…

  • xBA: .276
  • xSLG: .419
  • xwOBA: .344

Due to the fact that the Astros’ outfield is extremely deep (Michael Brantley, George Springer, Josh Reddick, Yordan Alvarez, etc.), Fisher has received limited opportunity in the majors, having amassed just 60 MLB plate appearances in 2019.

His improvements can also be seen from his performance at Triple-A from this season compared to last year…

20182019
PA281270
HR1014
RBI3436
AVG.251.286
OBP.363.401
SLG.435.522
wRC+113125
wOBA.358.391
ISO.184.237
BB%13.914.8
K%30.224.8

In his short stint in the big leagues, Fisher doubled his walk rate and halved his strikeout rate (2018: BB%/K% – 5.8/48.8; 2019: BB%/K% – 11.7/23.3). Here’s a look at how his plate discipline numbers have shifted for the better (MLB stats per FanGraphs)…

20182019
O-Swing%24.922.4
Z-Swing%56.070.2
O-Contact%42.943.3
Z-Contact%67.086.4
SwStr%16.311.4

The biggest changes have been that Fisher is swinging at significantly more strikes and he is making contact with a higher percentage of those strikes. He’s swinging and missing less often as a whole.

Swing Comparison

May 2019
May 2018
  • Fisher is starting with his hands and bat significantly higher up
  • His legs are more even
  • His front elbow is tilted upwards more so than in 2018
  • As the pitch approaches, Fisher’s knees are more bent
  • A more balanced stance
  • Facing the pitcher (body starting to position itself towards the plate)

Fisher’s biggest issue is that he is unable to tap into his power at times because he hits the ball on the ground at such a higher frequency (51.3%). He does hit the ball hard on the ground though (94.4 average exit velocity). In fact, the only hitter who hits the ball at a higher average exit velocity on the ground (minimum 30 batted ball events) is Aaron Judge (95.8 mph).

Ultimately, the Blue Jays may encourage Derek Fisher to implemented a more line-drive/fly ball oriented approach. The raw tools are there, and if Toronto can work some magic, they’ll have themselves a potential superstar.

Thanks for reading. Please considering following me on Twitter @MaxSportsStudio.

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