With spring training right around the corner; many young baseball players are putting the finishing touches on their off-season routines so they can enter spring camp in excellent shape to earn a promotion, and build off the success they had last season.
Focused on state of the art training, Chicago White Sox prospect Zach Fish has left his home in Michigan to return to Oklahoma State. While on campus, Fish is targeting many different aspects of his body to be totally prepared for the challenges he’s about to face in March.
“I’m currently at Oklahoma State training,” said Fish. “I’m doing a lot of lifting, running, and doing what I need to do to stay strong and withstand a full season of pro ball.”
Hoping his extra effort pays off in the end, Fish doesn’t have any expectations for spring, except to work hard at any task that is thrown his way, while having fun playing the game of baseball with his teammates.
“I want to be productive and do whatever is thrown my way,” stated Fish. “Whatever assignment I am given I will attack and be the best I can be. I don’t have any expectations other than being very excited to have an opportunity to attend spring training and play baseball again.”
Looking to build off the success he had at Oklahoma State, Fish was a key piece of the Cowboys Big-12 Championship squad. The Michigan native showed excellent extra base power all season, collecting 28 extra base hits, which included: 17 doubles, and 11 home runs. But his production didn’t end there; Fish drove in 48 runs, while scoring another 41. Factor that in with his excellent .308/.385/.517 slash line, and there was no question that Fish would hear his name called on draft day.
“I love Oklahoma State. OSU has shaped me into the person I am now. I loved every minute I spent on that campus with my teammates and coaches,” stated Fish. “The preparation that I got for pro baseball there is some of the best in the country, to have the staff that OSU has to accompany you along with great facilities is truly special.”
After patiently sitting through the first two days of the draft, Fish wouldn’t have to wait long on day three to find out where he was heading. Selected with the third pick of the 11th round (318th overall) by the Chicago White Sox, Fish was excited to get his professional career going after three seasons of college baseball.
“Being drafted by the White Sox was special. I knew the organization was interested, as I had an opportunity to talk to a great local scout a few times in the fall and spring,” said Fish. “That moment was very special for both my family and I. My parents were my biggest baseball influences in my life and to share that moment with them, as well as knowing I was about to take the next step in my career was very memorable and long-awaited.”
Choosing to forgo his senior season of college, Fish quickly signed his professional contract and was assigned to the White Sox’ Pioneer League affiliate in Great Falls, Montana in June. Appearing in 56 games for the Voyagers, Fish made an instant impact both offensively and defensively speaking.
Picking up 51 hits in 204 at-bats in his first professional year, Fish continued to show the extra base power he had earlier in the year at OSU. Collecting 16 extra base hits at the advanced-rookie ball level, which included 11 doubles and five home runs, the 22-year old also continued to show great ability at driving in runners in scoring position by picking up 22 RBIs.
Success didn’t end at the plate for Fish, as he takes great pride in being a complete player which includes being equally accountable in the field. Maintaining a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 85 chances, while taking part in a double play, and assisting on four shows the importance Fish puts on himself to be excellent at both sides of the game.
“I want to be a complete player. I don’t want to be known just as an offensive player. I pride myself on coming to the yard every day to be the best all-around player I can be,” said Fish. “My coaches and teammates helped me every day in making sure I was prepared for the game defensively.”
While numbers are an important part of the game of baseball, Fish chooses not to focus on them, as he feels it’s more important to be a great teammate that comes to the ballpark every day with one attitude, which is to get better through excellent coaching.
“I don’t like sitting down and worrying about numbers. The game is about progression and getting better,” explained Fish. “I felt like as the season got deeper, I progressed with my approach and got better. My coaching staff and teammates put me in situations to be successful. Without their help and knowledge my production wouldn’t have picked up in the second half.”
It didn’t take long for Fish to take coaching seriously at the professional level, as he built a great connection with his first professional hitting coach, Greg Briley. Enjoying the opportunity to get help with certain things and picking the brain of a 598-game major league veteran was a big help for Fish in 2014.
“Coach Briley was a great hitting coach,” said Fish. “To be able to come to the ballpark every day and pick his brain about the smallest things about the game of baseball was great. I learned a lot from Coach Briley and I’m forever thankful for his mentoring.”
Be sure to follow Zach Fish as he continues to be an excellent all-around player for one of the White Sox minor league affiliates in 2015.