June 7, 2014
EAST LANSING - Outfielder Jimmy Pickens and catcher Joel Fisher were both selected in the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Saturday. Pickens was selected in the 15th round (455th overall) by Cincinnati and Fisher was taken in the 23rd round with the 682nd overall selection by Philadelphia.
"We're obviously very happy for both guys," said MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. "Joel really gave his heart and soul to the program over his four years and he deserves all the success he will have in the future. To be undrafted out of high school and then undrafted as a junior is a testament to how hard he worked and he's reaping the benefits.
"Jimmy is a very talented player and he has a very good head on his shoulder. He had a very good year and we're very excited for his future. He proved he is one of the elite outfielders and hitters in the country."
Over his three years with the Spartans, Pickens was a two-time All-Big Ten honoree and started 149 of the 163 games in which he appeared. He has a .294-career batting average with 32 doubles, 20 home runs and 112 RBIs.
Pickens was an All-Big Ten First Team selection in 2014 and finished the season with a team-best .318 batting average. The right fielder started and appeared in all but one of the Spartans' 57 games in 2014.
Pickens finished the season among the Big Ten leaders in several offensive categories, including seventh in slugging percentage (.473), fourth in walks (34), fifth in on-base percentage (.427) and 12th in total bases (95).
Once on base, Pickens remained a threat. After stealing just six bases as a sophomore, he swiped 22 this past season which was third most in the conference.
Pickens had an MSU season-long, 13-game hitting streak from March 7 - April 2 where he hit .404. His best performance of the season came in a win over Eastern Illinois on March 2 where he went 4-for-4, including a double and home run, and drove in six runs. The six RBIs tied for the highest-single game total by a player in the Big Ten this season.
As a sophomore, Pickens earned All-Big Ten Second Team honors and was the winner of the team's John Kobs Most Valuable Player and Kirk Gibson Co-Offensive Player of the Year awards. He started all 50 games and led the team in runs scored (39), RBIs (42), total bases (103), slugging percentage (.528) and home runs (9). He posted a .303 batting average, but hit even better in Big Ten play with a .313 average.
Pickens's most memorable at-bats of 2013 came when he delivered walk-off hits in back-to-back games against No. 12 Indiana, helping the Spartans sweep the Hoosiers.
As a rookie in 2012, Pickens was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team, leading MSU with six home runs. He ranked third on the team with 35 RBIs and compiled a .257 batting average.
Pickens was a four-year letterwinner under Coach Bob Riker at Brother Rice High School and was originally selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 41st round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Fisher, a four-year starter, was named to the All-Big Ten Third Team this past season and was also voted the Spartans' Danny Litwhiler Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.
"I'm definitely relieved and really happy," said Fisher. "The opportunity to extend my career and keep playing baseball is exciting. My time at Michigan State has been great; I learned so much both on the field and in the classroom - things that will help me in all areas of life."
In his four years wearing the Green and White, Fisher appeared in 178 games - the second most by a player during Boss' six seasons as head coach. The 6-3, 240-pound righty had a .256 batting average and 100 RBIs, while behind the plate he threw out 82 runners in his career.
As a senior, Fisher hit .264, ranked 11th in the Big Ten in RBIs (39) and tied for sixth in home runs (five). He finished the year in strong fashion, hitting .471 with six RBIs in the Big Ten Tournament and was named to the all-tournament team.
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.
The native of Farmington Hills had a season-long nine-game hitting streak from April 22-May 7 where he hit .421 with 13 RBIs. His most memorable game of the 2014 season came on Feb. 22 when he went 3-for-5 with a grand slam that helped MSU defeat top-ranked Oregon State, 8-7.
As a junior, he started 47 games and produced 27 RBIs. He hit .236 with five home runs, which tied for second on the team.
During his sophomore season in 2012, Fisher posted a career-best .280 batting average. He saw action in 38 games, making 33 starts in what was an injury-shortened season. He started 19 of the Spartans' 24 Big Ten games behind the plate.
Fisher belted his first-career home run in a win over Central Michigan at Comerica Park.
Fisher was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman team in 2011 as he started 39 games and posted a .245 batting average. He had 11 multi-hit games and four multi-RBI games in helping lead MSU to the Big Ten title.
Fisher was a four-year letterwinner at Farmington High School.