Published On: January 19th, 2012

Madison, WI –  The Madison Mallards announced the signing of freshman outfielder Derek Fisher [left] from the University of Virginia and freshman catcher Taylor Gushue [right] from the University of Florida.

Fisher, a 6’3", 205 pound outfielder was drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft by the Texas Rangers, but turned down a substantial contract offer to attend the University of Virginia. Fisher will become the highest drafted player out of high school to wear a Mallards uniform. "Derek can be a legitimate five tool player in the majors," said Mallards Manager Greg Labbe. "If he plays like we know he can, he will be an impact player in our lineup, even as a freshman. Any time you get the opportunity to sign a guy like Derek Fisher, you jump on that chance."

Fisher attended Cedar Crest High School in Rexmont, PA and hit .484 with 12 home runs and 31 RBIs his senior season while being ranked the nation’s 14th best high school prospect in 2011 by national scouting service Perfect Game. The sweet swinging lefty also made the all-state team three times in Pennsylvania and was the State Player of the Year in 2011.

Gushue, a 6’2”, 190 pound catcher graduated high school early to forgo his senior season and enroll at the University of Florida in time for their 2012 campaign making him ineligible for the MLB Draft in 2012. "Taylor has big arm strength and power to all parts of the ballpark," said Labbe. "His character as a person is out of this world and he will be an integral part of what we do."

Gushue, the nation’s 96th best prospect according to Perfect Game is a switch hitter. Gushue batted .390 and hit nine home runs while driving in 25 runs as a junior at Calvary Christian Academy in Boca Raton, FL. He will not participate in his senior season, as he will play for the Gators. This move, is one that college coaches wish would occur more frequently as it is a way to beat the MLB system and keep their recruits in college. “The main reason for the decision is my desire to get better at the game of baseball. Everything I’ve done in my career thus far is with the intention of becoming a better overall player,” Gushue said. “I feel like going to Florida early is the best decision for my career and I feel like I’ll improve that much more joining the Gators a little early. I think it’ll be a great experience.”

"I am very excited to work with these young players," said Labbe. "If they come in and contribute the way I know they can, this 2012 Mallards team can be special."

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