Former Mallards OF Derek Fisher debuts with Astros

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Former Madison Mallards outfielder, Derek Fisher, made his Major League debut for the Houston Astros on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Fisher is the 177th former Northwoods League player to reach the Major League level.

Fisher, who played collegiately at Virginia, played for the Madison Mallards in 2012. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 1st round, 37th overall, of the 2014 MLB Draft.

In 2012 with the Mallards, Fisher hit .315 over 51 games and had eight home runs, 10 doubles and two triples. He also drove in 36 runs and stole eight bases.

Fisher started his Minor League career in 2014 with the Astros Rookie Level team in the Gulf Coast League. After one game, he was promoted to the Tri-City ValleyCats of the Short-Season A New York-Penn League. Between the two teams he hit a combined .310 with two home runs, three triples, two doubles and 18 runs driven in. He also stole 17 bases and scored 31 runs.

Fisher started the 2015 season with a promotion to the Quad Cities River Bandits of the Lo-A Midwest League. After 39 games with Quad Cities he was sent to the Lancaster JetHawks of the Hi-A California League. For the season, he hit .275 in 123 games with 22 home runs, 21 doubles and eight triples. To go along with those impressive numbers, he also stole 31 bases and drove in 87 runs.

A promotion again for the 2016 season saw Fisher begin the year with the Corpus Christi Hooks of the AA Texas League. He would play in 102 games before another promotion to end the season to the Fresno Grizzlies of the AAA Pacific Coast League. Over 129 games he hit .255 with 21 home runs, 21 doubles, four triples and 76 runs driven in. He also tacked on 28 stolen bases and scored 71 runs.

Prior to his call-up to Houston, Fisher had played in 60 games and was hitting .335 with 16 home runs and 45 RBI. He also had 19 doubles and had stolen 13 bases.

In his Major League debut against the Texas Rangers, Fisher started the game in left field. In the 6th inning he hit the second pitch he saw from Jeremy Jeffress for a home run to left field for his first Major League hit. Then again later in the 6th inning he would single off of Rangers reliever and former Brainerd Blue Thunder pitcher Dillon Gee. Fisher would finish the game 2 for 3 with a home run, two runs scored, two RBI and two walks.

(NorthwoodsLeague.com)

J.J. Watt injury could be season-ending

HOUSTON — A source familiar with the condition of former Badger and current Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt says the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year could be out until December or longer after re-injuring his back last Thursday night against the New England Patriots.

The news was first reported by Ian Rapoport, but the source spoke on condition of anonymity because the Texans haven’t officially announced the injury.

Watt had surgery in July to repair a herniated disc which caused him to miss all of training camp and all four games of the preseason. It’s unclear at this time if surgery is required, but the 27-year-old has yet to miss an NFL game in his six-year career. Watt was held out of practice on Monday, but head coach Bill O’Brien said it was simply for rest purposes.

It’s not the first major injury of Watt’s career, having torn abdominal muscles last season in the playoffs, one that had him contemplating retirement. He’s out to a slow start in 2016, with just 1.0 tackle and 1 ½ sacks.