Growing up as a little kid watching sandlot town baseball, I alway got to the games early. I liked watching batting practice, seeing the opposing pitchers warm-up and count to see it enough players would show up for a game. But, I always liked when the plate umpire would come out in front of the usually small crowd to start the game and appear to read from the new white baseball the starting “batteries” for the two teams.
In yesterday’s GCL game the Phillies starting battery of pitcher Luis Morales and catcher Joel Fisher were my two stars of the game in the 6-2 win over the GCL Pirates at Roberts Field.
Morales went five innings giving up one run but most importantly allowed no walks while striking out five to pick up the win. The lean, lanky, 6’4″, 21 year old Venezuelan had command of all his pitches in the strike zone. He was a totally different pitcher from opening day when he gave up three runs and two walks in 3.1 innings against the GCL Blue Jays.
Behing the plate was 6’3″ 235 lbs. Joel Fisher, another 21 year-old who was the Phillies 15th round, 682nd overall recent draft pick. He doubled to right and homered to left. He was the second catcher taken by the Phillies in the draft after 18th round pick Sean McHugh who is a back-up catcher with Williamsport.
Fisher is continuing his hot hitting in the GCL after ending the season with the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten tournament. In the last two games in the tournament as the Spartans were eliminated in the semi-finals Fisher went 5 for 9 with 6 RBIs batting out of the five hole. He finished the year strong, hitting .471 in the Tournament and was named to the all-tournament team.
As a senior, Fisher hit .264, ranked 11th in the Big Ten in RBIs (39) and tied for sixth in home runs (five). Defensively, Fisher threw out a Big Ten-best 30 would-be base stealers, which also ranked as one of the highest totals in the nation according to a Spartan press release. He did show a strong arm yesterday though both base runners beat his throws.
Two young prospects to keep an eye on this season in the GCL were the starting battery of the GCL Phillies yesterday: Luis Morales and Joel Fisher.