In Joe Maddon’s first public appearance as the LA Angels’ new manager, there was not a ton of “ baseball talk” with AM 830 host Roger Lodge.
However, the most interesting part came when Maddon began talking about David Fletcher. He said when the Cubs hosted the Angels last year, no one impressed him more than Fletcher did (Trout didn’t play).
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“David Fletcher is exciting to me. He’s potentially a Major League All Star.”
That may sound like an overly bold statement from the Angels’ newest skipper, but it’s more reasonable than you’d expect.
Last season, David Fletcher accumulated 3.4 WAR per FanGraphs. If we look at just American League second basemen, that would have ranked fifth behind DJ LeMaheiu, Jonathan Villar, Gleybar Torres, and Jose Altuve. In that group, Torres is the only one that is set to both be in the AL for years to come while also continuing to improve upon his game.
Fletcher is also an analytic nerd’s dream player. He rarely strikes out, walks at a good rate, hits extremely well, rarely chases pitches, and plays nearly every position on the field. With analytics becoming a bigger and bigger part of this game, there’s no reason Fletcher can’t morph himself into an All Star over the next few years.
In fact, he’s already closer than you think. Last season, in the early months of the year, there was legitimate talk about Fletcher making the All Star game as a reserve. In the first two months of the season, Fletcher hit .306 while playing all over the infield.
In the years to come, as Fletcher enters his prime and players like Villar, Lemahieu, and Altuve see the twilight of their careers, there’s a definite pathway for Fletcher to become an All Star under Joe Maddon.
Gleybar Torres will have a spot in the AL for the next 5-10 years at least. However, rosters hold 2-3 second basemen, and Fletcher has as good of a shot as anyone to join Torres in the All Star Game in 2020.