Claimed from the Braves organization last April, IF Michael Fisher was a pleasant surprise as he showed far more power in 2010 than ever before.
Today's Minor League Monday Interview is with St. Lucie Mets IF Michael Fisher. Fisher isn't a big name in the Mets organization but those of you who pay attention to the farm system on a regular basis know Fisher as a newcomer from the Braves system last April who had a very solid year in 2010.
Fisher not only bounced around the infield all year but he also bounced around the system as injuries warranted, from Savannah all the way up to Binghamton then back down to St. Lucie. But one thing that didn't change for him was his production. Fisher hit wherever he played, compiling a .300 average with an .825 OPS and nine home runs in 270 ab's. A sixth rounder in '07 out of Georgia Tech, Fisher was a pleasant surprise for the Mets as his previous high in homers was four and he actually slugged under .300 in '09.
Listen in as Michael and I discussed working with Ben Zobrist to increase his power, rooming with Matt Wieters at Georgia Tech and ignoring the scouts. Press the 'Play' button below or click here to listen to the interview or read on below the break for a full transcript.
Rob: I wanted to start with your start, as a Met. You're a newcomer to the organization; you were picked up early in the (2010) season from the Braves. And you've been basically an offensive revelation. I've been speaking to people who cover the Braves and they're saying to me 'Where's all this power coming from?' You've hit 9 home runs this year in just over 250 ab's and before this your career high was 4 back in '08. So what gives? Have you made adjustments or are you just starting to come around to the pro pitching?
Fisher: Well going into spring training (last year) with the Braves I kind of had a clear mind for the first time going in. And I was working in the offseason with Ben Zobrist and he was was just helping me out. He said that his power numbers went up big time when he started working with a rotational hitting kind of thing; basically just getting more power out of your swing and pretty much swinging really hard and if you hit it, it'll fly. I thought I showed that a little bit in spring training but I'm glad it's showing now.
Rob: Now the summer must have been an absolute whirlwind for you. You started in Savannah, they shipped you up to Double-A Binghamton and now you're down to St. Lucie again. And by the way you managed to hit at all three stops. So are you just sort of catching your breath now?
Fisher: I guess so, it's just been a great ride. Obviously playing in Savannah, I've been there before when I was with Rome (Braves). You just have to try to stay with the same approach at every level and fortunately it's been able to work out.
Rob: Like you said, you've been down to Savannah, you've been in that Atlanta area, you're basically a Georgia kid through and through. You were born down there and you live down there correct?
Fisher: Actually that's kind of funny, everything says I was born in Atlanta but I was actually born in Nashville, Tennessee.
Rob: Oh really? I read you were from Atlanta so there you go. Well you went to school at Georgia Tech, I'm assuming you were kind of a Braves fan maybe?
Fisher: Actually no, I grew up a Cubs fan thanks to the movie 'Rookie of the Year'.
Rob: Great choice, that's one of my favorites.
Rob: You happen to be the kind of player that scouts always seem to say needs to prove it at every level. Now how comfortable are you with that statement? Do you believe that and if so are you comfortable with it?
Fisher: Well this might be a little cliche but I know my capabilities and I know my swing and I know where I fit. Each day I just have come out and play my game and if that doesn't suit what I guess scouts think is suitable for going up higher then I guess that's just the way it is. But whatever they think that's fine, I'll just keep playing my game.
Rob: What would you say are your biggest strengths and also your biggest weaknesses?
Fisher: Biggest strength probably, playing just about every position. And biggest weakness, it's something you learn very year, it's just staying focused every inning. The guys at the big league level, they've figured it out and as you go down, a lot of guys are trying to figure it out. But definitely my biggest strength is that I can play just about every position on the field, I haven't played outfield yet though...
Rob: Like you said, you've been all over the diamond, where do you feel most comfortable?
Fisher: Right now, probably second base. I got to play first base for the first time ever in Savannah and I was fine with that. It was a little different but I just took every chance to watch other first baseman and see how they played it and learned from them.
Rob: I mentioned earlier that you played at Georgia Tech, and I think while you were there you played with current Orioles catcher Matt Wieters right?
Fisher: I did, he was my roommate.
Rob: Oh really? I gotta ask you then what kind of rommate was he?
Fisher: He was a good roommate. He was relaxed and laid-back and fun to be around.
Rob: Yeah I've heard that and obviously he's a great player. Do you still keep in touch with him at all?
Fisher: I do every now and then; in the offseason it's a little easier. Whenever he's down in Atlanta at Georgia Tech I try to get down there and maybe work out with him.
Rob: Another of these things I've read, you can tell me if this is accurate, I've read that you were a pretty good quarterback back in high school and that you were even recruited.
Fisher: Yes I was.
Rob: Ok then why did you choose the baseball then over the college football route?
Fisher: Because nobody offered for football. When I asked my football coach, when he talked to all the football guys they just said they figured I was gonna go to baseball, so that's the way it is.
Rob: I like to end these with a few personal questions just to get to know you guys better off the field. So what would you say is your favorite TV show?
Fisher: That's a tough one...I'd have to say 'Family Guy' probably.
Rob: Last movie you saw?
Fisher: Old School.
Rob: If I turned on your iPod right now what would be playing?
Fisher: Thanks to (St. Lucie catcher) Jean-Luc Blaquiere I've been listening to some house music, some techno-type stuff recently. But you'll probably find more country or Christian rock.
Rob: Any nicknames?
Fisher: Fish. In college I was Bobby. Mainly fish though.
Rob: Who was your favorite ballplayer growing up and why?
Fisher: My favorite was either Ryne Sandberg or Cal Ripken Jr. I just liked the way they played the game, they weren't the flashiest guys, they just got out there and did their jobs and they respected the fans too.
Rob: Allright well Michael Fisher I appreciate talking with you and good luck going forward in the Mets organization.
Michael seems like a very nice kid and though he's obviously not a blue chip prospect, after the kind of improvements that he showed with the bat in 2010 he could easily follow in the footsteps of another waiver claim that the Mets made in 2010, Justin Turner, as a defensively versatile major league-caliber backup infielder. At the very least I'm sure his power surge last season bugged the Braves who released him for a lack of pop and anyone who annoys Atlanta is all right by me.