Halo Hangout stopped by the home of the LA Angels MiLB squad, the Inland Empire 66ers, to chat with some up and coming prospects. One of the recent stand-outs of late is third-baseman Richie Fecteau, who has been on an offensive tear in the second half of the 2018 season.
One of the best things about Minor League baseball is watching all of the talented, hopeful athletes work each and every day to bring themselves closer to fulfilling their goal as future MLB mainstays. Seeing an athlete develop their truest talents over the course of one, or multiple MiLB seasons, is nearly as fulfilling as seeing these players achieve MLB success. Why is that?
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It’s almost unexplainable, the feeling of seeing a player who faced challenge after challenge finally cultivate their potential after spending time facing the inevitable struggles of the game. Even when the pieces aren’t all in place you can always see the talent if it’s there, when all the pieces finally fall into place it seems almost magical. Witnessing the individual athlete realize the potential that has always been inside of them is a reward within itself. Maybe it’s just me, but one of the most fulfilling things to witness in any aspect of life is seeing another individual realize their own successes.
That’s precisely what’s made third baseman Richie Fecteaus 2018 season within the Angels development systems so enjoyable to watch.
Richie Fecteau is in his third season as an Angels prospect, and in this last month he’s been playing his best baseball as of yet. He was drafted in 2016 out of Salem State (Salem, MA) and played a short season with the rookie league Orem Owlz. Fecteau shone with potential in his 2017 MiLB season across Orem, Burlington, and the Arizona League Angels. In that season Fecteau hit .316/.374/.490 with 10 HR’s and 53 RBI’s in a total of 68 games, and to say he showed a lot of promise would be selling his performance short. During that season, at the age of 23, Fecteau already began to live up to some of that promise.
This past season has seen Fecteau spend his time with the Class A Advanced Inland Empire 66ers, where he’s hit an overall .249/.290/.398. You may not notice at first, but that slash line is a great indicator of the success Fecteau has found in the second half of 2018. His first half of 2018 saw him hit only .202/.248/.310, yet that was no indicator of his skill-level, only of the hard work set out for him.
The second half of 2018 has been a different story, it’s one of a player whose overcome the challenges set before him. In this second half Fecteau is batting .304/.339/.500 with 20 RBI’s in 31 games, and within the last month alone Fecteau has hit .306 with an .887 OPS. The developing talent is showing no signs of slowing down.
Richie Fecteau #4
H.H: In the last month you’ve slugged over .500. What have you been working on this month to bring this success?
Fecteau: Me and the hitting coach, Brain Betancourth, have been working on seeing the ball up and really focusing on laying off the slow stuff down. Just trying to really work on my pitch selection and just getting a much better pitch to hit and making sure I put a good swing on it.
H.H: You have 3 triples in the last week alone. Is this a product of improved base-running or simply improved hitting?
Fecteau: Probably more towards the hitting part. Putting good barrels into spots where I can take over and let it run.
H.H: How has your plate discipline evolved over the course of the season?
Fecteau: It’s gotten much better, early in the season I was chasing everything down. A lot of off-speed down, trying to recognize that I was struggling recognizing any pitch down. So far this second half I’ve been trying to see my pitch up. Really trying to focus on seeing the spin and making sure it’s a good pitch to hit.
H.H: Back at Salem State you majored in exercise science, what did you learn in those studies that you’ve been able to apply to your baseball career?
Fecteau: A lot of it’s just taking care of your body; foam-rowing, eating healthy, recovery and stuff like that. Those are some of the biggest things that major helped me with. Always making sure my body feels ready to play every day.
July Slash Line: .324/.361/.515
August RBI’s: 12
Four Triples in the Month of August
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H.H: This season you logged your only career Minor League pitching appearance [6/27; 1.1 IP]. How did that come about?
Fecteau: [laughs] I’m not sure how that came about, but it was pretty fun! The last time I pitched was in high school. I was not really ready to go out on the mound. They said, “Hey Rich, get it ready!” and I said “Alright!”
It went a lot better than I was expected to go, I just tried to go in and I told [Franklin] Navarro, the catcher, just set it down the middle and I’m gonna put it there. That’s it, let them get themselves out! [laughs]
H.H: In June you hit .235 and then in July you hit .324. What changed in your approach between those two months?
Fecteau: Like I said, it’s just trying to get a good pitch to hit. Laying off bad pitches, really focusing on the strike-zone and making sure I don’t swing at a pitch I can’t hit early in the count which was what I was doing in the beginning. Just making sure I get good pitches up to hit and putting a good swing on it.
H.H: With the way you’ve performed to close out this season, do you feel your development catching up to your expectations?
Fecteau: Yes, from the beginning of the season on it’s definitely been going uphill. I’ve been very happy with how it’s been going the past couple of months. Hopefully I’ll keep seeing more improvement over the last month of the season.
H.H: After the season wraps up what do you do to stay active and in shape?
Fecteau: I go home and it’s very cold when I go home, it’s always snowing. There’s an indoor facility where I work out at, they let me go there and work some clinics and stuff like that. They let me train, it’s all turf indoors and they let me hit up there and throw, take ground balls every day. I’m very thankful for that.
Richie Fecteau #4
All of the hard work Richie Fecteau has put into his season has begun to show in this 2nd half of the 2018 season. Sometimes it takes a bit of time for a player to understand what the game requires in order for them to find the most success. Richie Fecteau has only taken half a season to learn from the game and better himself, and at the torrid pace he’s on there’s seemingly no limits to the level of growth he can achieve. He’s about to wrap up his age 24 season, and given the level of maturity he’s achieved in his time with the 66ers it’s only a matter of patience until we see the young athlete live up to his promise with the big league Angels.
Baseball is a wonderful sport, yet the atmosphere of young athletes filling the air with a hopeful optimism and their desire to fulfill the dream they now stand at the cusp of may make Minor League Baseball the best kind of baseball around.