LA Angels infielder David Fletcher has been up in the majors for two months now and it seems like he has been there forever. Fletcher makes tough plays look easy and keeps coming up with clutch hits.
When the LA Angels were struggling with injuries they were looking for a someone who could hit and field as well as play multi[le positions. These were all attributes David Fletcher had shown he could do in the minors, but the question was could he do it in the majors.
Two months in Fletcher has been all the Angels could have hoped for and more. While his .270 batting average is not spectacular, it is solid and fletcher has also hit one homer and driven in 19 runs so far. Fletcher has also played five different positions so far including left and right field as well as shortstop, but most of his work has come at second base (his natural position) and third base a place he had never played before being called up to the majors. Fletcher is carrying a .987 fielding percentage making only two errors in 158 total chances.
He has definitely drawn high praise from many people within the organization including Angels first base coach and former middle infielder Alfredo Griffin.
“When you watch him play does he look like a rookie to you?,” Griffin posed the question to me. “He does everything right. He plays as if he lives here.”
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Whether Fletcher is making a bare hand pick-up of a bunt and throwing across his body or ranging deep into the hole at second or third base and uncorking a bullet to retire the batter at first base, Fletcher seems to possess all the necessary tools to play anywhere in the infield.
So what has been his approach since being called up to Anaheim?
“I just try to work hard every day and let the results take care of themselves,” Fletcher said. “I feel pretty comfortable wherever I have been playing. Whether it’s second or third base or somewhere else I just try to do the best I can.”
Fletcher was drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 amateur draft out of Loyola Marymount University and is an Orange County native being born in Orange and playing his high school baseball at Cypress High School.
He played for Burlington in the second half of 2015 and did very well hitting .311 with a homer and 40 RBIs with 17 stolen bases. In 2016 Fletcher shifted just down the road from Anaheim playing for the Inland Empire 66’ers, but he wasn’t there too long moving up to Double-A playing only 78 games for the 66’ers hitting .275 with three homers and 31 RBIs. In Double-A Fletcher played for the Arkansas Travellers hitting .300 with six RBIs in 20 games.
In 2017 Fletcher started in Double-A this time in Mobile before moving up to Triple-A Salt Lake City. Fletcher hit a combined .266 with three homers and 39 RBIs. This season Fletcher just scalded the ball in Salt Lake City. Fletcher hit .350 with six homers and 37 RBIs.
On June 12th Fletcher received the news that he had reached the top of the mountain with the call up to the majors.
“It was very exciting (to hear he had been called up). It’s something you’ve worked for your whole life and now it is a reality,” Fletcher said. “It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was there (Single-A Inland Empire). It didn’t really feel that long before I was here.”
Fletcher was one of a handful players from the 2016 Inland Empire team that is now playing for the Angels. He was happy to be joined by some friendly faces on being called up to the Angels.
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“It’s nice to see all those guys doing well and making it up here too,” Fletcher added. “It’s great to have some familiar faces up here in the big leagues with me.”
Fletcher will surely be in the big leagues for the remainder of the season with second and third base both needing to be filled and him doing so well, but what does the future hold for Fletcher in 2019?
Mike Scioscia weighs in on that question with his assessment of Fletcher’s abilities.
“He’s great. He’s winning playing time and that’s all you can ask for of a player,” Scioscia said. “He’s fearless out there. He has played three positions and makes the tough plays look easy. At the plate he has given us a boost coming up with some key hits. He has played very well and he has a bright future ahead of him.”
So next time you go to an Angel game watch what #3 David Fletcher is doing, hopefully he will become a mainstay in the Angel infield for years to come.