The Tri-City ValleyCats skipped batting practice on Sunday, but Derek Fisher didn't think that was any reason to complicate his approach at the plate.
"That's why baseball is the greatest game on earth. You show up at the park, get off the bus and try to keep it simple," said the Astros' 2014 first-round pick. "Usually, you have batting practice, but today we got off the bus and took some work in the cage, and that was it. I just tried to stay simple and put the bat on the ball, and it worked out."
Fisher's simplicity netted him a 4-for-5 performance with a stolen base and four runs scored in Short-Season Tri-City's 7-5 loss at Aberdeen. He's batting .368 through 20 games in the New York-Penn League.
"I just look for a good pitch to hit. Hit mistakes," the University of Virginia product said. "There were a couple times I had to battle with two strikes, but for the most part, it was just keeping it simple and putting the barrel on the ball."
The 20-year-old outfielder notched his first hit with two outs in the opening inning against IronBirds starter John Means. He stole second and got the ValleyCats' scoring started by coming home on Nick Tanielu's double.
The Astros and Tri-City manager Ed Romero have made it clear that Fisher should be on the move at his discretion, and his first-inning theft was the result of his own initiative.
"I think they have some confidence in me and my ability to make reads on my own," Fisher said. "I have the green light, and of course, I can ask some questions and use [the coaching staff] as resources. But all in all, they trust me to go for it whenever I think the time is right."
So far, the time has been right often. The Astros' No. 13 prospect ranks sixth in the league with 11 steals and has yet to be caught.
"It's another aspect of the game to take advantage of," Fisher said, "and just being on and taking advantage to create an opportunity for guys behind me, with two outs or whatever is a lot of fun."
His speed was a factor again in the third, when he beat out a high chopper to first base. He singled up the middle in the fifth and flied to center in the seventh.
In the ninth, with Tri-City trailing by four runs, Fisher stepped in against reliever Josh Walker with one out and Mott Hyde on first base. Walker had retired the side in order in the eighth, and he looked pretty sharp to Fisher.
"With that kind of pitcher on the mound, who was throwing strikes pitch after pitch, you just try to get on base, whether a walk, a hit, an extra-base hit," Fisher said.
The 37th overall pick in last month's draft saw 13 pitches from Walker, knocking the final one through the right side for his fourth single of the day.
"When it comes down to it, it was just a battle for both of us," Fisher said.
Hyde and Fisher scored on Tanielu's third double of the game, but Ivan Hernandez came on and retired both batters he faced to record his third save.
Aberdeen's Riley Palmer went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored, falling a home run short of the cycle.