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Thoughts on Angels rookie David Fletcher

Quick look at rookie infielder

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers at Los Angeles Angels Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels promoted shortstop David Fletcher to the major leagues last week. He went 3-for-4 with a triple in his first game but is 0-for-4 in subsequent contests. Fletcher was having an excellent season in Triple-A so it is no surprise he was moved up when the Angels needed an infielder. Here’s a quick take.

Fletcher was drafted in the sixth round in 2015 from Loyola Marymount. He was drafted for his glove but has hit well occasionally, including a .311/.377/.415 line in his pro debut and a .280/.322/.351 slash between High-A and Double-A in 2016.

He split 2017 between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting .266/.316/.339. Fletcher ranked 18th pre-season on the Angels Top 20 Prospects for 2018 list with this comment:

18) David Fletcher, SS, Grade C+: Age 23, sixth round pick in 2015 from Loyola Marymount, hit .266/.316/.339 with 20 doubles, three homers, 20 steals, 27 walks, 55 strikeouts in 448 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A; easy to under-estimate, old-time scouts would have called him an “intangibles” player; runs well, but throwing arm is nothing special and hitting power is below average; all that said, he is a very reliable defensive shortstop how outplays his mediocre defensive tools with positioning, instincts, and impressive reliability: has a .982 career fielding percentage at short; most likely a utilityman but might surprise eventually; ETA 2018.

Fletcher has been very hot so far in ‘18, hitting .350/.394/.559 for Salt Lake with 25 doubles, six homers, 16 walks, and 21 strikeouts in 254 at-bats.

Some bullet points:

****Fletcher has been playing third base for the Angels so far, but in the minors he has played very little of that position and has spent most of his time at shortstop with good results. He’s been excellent when tried at second but probably needs more reps if he is to be used extensively at third. Overall the glove projects well in the utility role.

****He’s already set career-high marks this year in doubles and homers. Is this real or just a PCL-generated illusion?

****I think it is some of both. The PCL and Salt Lake is a friendly environment of course, but he’s had flashes of hot hitting before and has always been efficient at making contact. Even a small strength gain going forward would be of great benefit. I can see him being a .270ish hitter with gap power.