Is Michael Fish the Angels Latest Catch?


Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

First, there was Tim Salmon. Then, there was Mike Trout. Could 23-year old Michael Fish be the newest catch for the Halos?

Maybe it’s a bit premature to put this “fish” in the same “school” as Angels royalty, but it’s tough to see the name and not “take the bait.”

Okay I swear I’m done. But in all seriousness, Fish has a tantalizing skill set and some video game numbers that could make him a late-round steal for the Halos.

Fish kicked off his amateur career with a sparkling freshman season for Sienna College; however, Fish’s gutsy (and often reckless) play brought about untimely wrist and shoulder injuries which hampered him throughout his sophomore and junior seasons and hurt his prospect potential.

A more prudent Fish took the field his senior year and  he led the conference in home runs (12), hits (81), runs scored (54), total bases (136) and slugging percentage (.602), ranking second in the league in RBI (50) and doubles (17), and fifth in average (.358) en route to MAAC Player of the Year honors. He surfaced on the Angels radar late in the 2013 MLB Draft, and the Halos selected him in the 32nd round. The opportunity gave Fish another venue to continue his outstanding 2013 campaign, and he went on to torch short-season pitchers with a .366 average, 1.111 OPS, nine home runs, 42 RBI and seven steals in 46 games split between the Pioneer and Arizona Fall Leagues.

As impressive as the stat lines may be, they’re also a little empty. He didn’t put up pro-like numbers in college until his senior year, the power didn’t develop until late (and even then all nine of his professional home runs were pulled), his swing is pretty violent and it isn’t exactly difficult for a polished college hitter to exploit rookie-league pitching. Joel Capote,  Wade Hinkle, Roberto Lopez…the list of young Halos to torch Orem  and fall into oblivion come full season ball goes on and on.

Still, Fish is a mature hitter who is fun to watch and goes balls to the wall on every play. His all-around game is strong, and while he doesn’t have any one skill that stands out, you have to look hard (and then look again) to find any significant holes in his game.

While it’s extremely premature to predict anything so early in the career of a late round pick, those high on the outfielder see a him impacting the club much in the way Kole Clahoun did in his surprise 2012 campaign (.282, eight home runs, 32 RBI in 58 games). A full season in A-ball will tell us a lot more about the type of player Fish is and could be, but you can be sure he’s one I’ll be keeping tabs on.

Tell me you wouldn’t want to see Mike Fish line up left of Mike Trout in the Angels outfield.