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We continue to look at the 2020 Toronto Blue Jays by looking at a player who had more than his share of on-field controversy in 2020: Derek Fisher.
Fisher was drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 draft out of high school but parlayed his college career at the University of Virginia into a first round (37th overall) selection in 2014 by the Astros. Fisher parlayed his power and speed into moving up the top prospects list and had some solid results as he moved up the system.
In Triple-A Fresno in 2017, the same year he made his MLB debut, he hit .318/.384/.583 with 26 doubles, a triple and 21 home runs. That didn’t really translate to major league success, however as he hit just .212/.307/.356 with the Astros. The following year, he continued to have some success in Triple-A, hitting .251/.363/.435 in the minors over 67 games but in 42 games in Houston, he hit only .165/.209/.392.
Fisher was traded to Toronto on July 31, 2019 in the deal that sent Joe Biagini, Aaron Sanchez and Cal Stevenson to the Astros. Fisher posted a .675 OPS in 17 games with the Astros and a .647 OPS with the Blue Jays in 40 games, getting a much longer look in Toronto after the trade.
Fisher looked good in spring training, getting into 12 games and hitting.286/.355/.571 with a pair of home runs in 28 at bats. After the break, however, Fisher’s 2020 was interrupted by injuries that cost him several weeks of the season but he was swinging the bat well, hitting .226/.359/.452 with a couple of doubles, a triple and a home run in 39 plate appearances over 16 games.
While Fisher was fine with the bat, cutting down on his strikeout rate, getting it under the 30% mark in the majors for the first time (28.5%), he was a defensive liability, having five runs allowed below average in just 90 innings. Included in that figure was a couple of big errors that Fisher made in right field on September 15, helping the Yankees score 20 runs against the Blue Jays. That turned out to be the last game he played during the season as he was hit by a pitch during a live BP session the next day and placed on the injured list.
Fisher is going to be in tough to make the 2021 Blue Jays. While he doesn’t have Anthony Alford or Billy McKinney to compete with anymore (both were put on waivers and claimed by other teams), he seems to have slipped behind Jonathan Davis on the depth charts and currently sits in fifth on club’s depth chart while the team may also target an outfielder in the offseason. Fisher will have to rehabilitate his image as a defender and strikeout machine in order to have a positive effect on his chances come 2021.
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