David Fletcher leaves quite the impression on Angels manager Joe Maddon, including a comparison to a team legend.
We know that Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon gives off the aura of a mad scientist. With his wild hair, his trademark glasses, lineup tinkering, and experimentation with psychology, Maddon definitely fits the part.
So when Maddon sat down with the media on prior to Thursday’s game, he donned his lab coat and unleashed his latest unholy creation upon the world.
Over the course of his limited time with the Angels since his return to the club, Maddon has been unable to hide his infatuation with infielder David Fletcher. From his knack to getting on base to his ability to slot into any position on the infield, many of the same qualities that have endeared Fletch to Angels fans have garnered also praise from Maddon.
Maddon’s been around the game for a while, and he’s seen many a good infielder that provides versatility to his club. But while he could have gone to a more recent player from his stable for comparison, someone like Ben Zobrist, Maddon instead went deeper into his well and opted to compare Fletcher to another diminutive Angels’ infielder, David Eckstein.
"“It’s almost like it’s Fletch-stein out there.”"
Maddon was the Angels bench coach in 2002, the year that Eckstein became a Halos hero and helped guide them to the club’s lone World Series title. That year, the shortstop authored a season that was oddly similar to the one David Fletcher put together in 2019.
David Eckstein (2002) – .293/.363/.388, 8 HR, 107 R, 63 RBI, 105 wRC+, 4.5 fWAR
David Fletcher (2019) – .290/.350/.384, 6 HR, 83 R, 49 RBI, 99 wRC+, 3.4 fWAR
Now, Eckstein obviously had the better of the two seasons. However, there are certainly enough similarities to draw a comparison. Add in that both players are smaller in stature, and it’s easy to see how Maddon can connect the dots there.
For Angels fans, they’re hoping to see Fletcher for a few more than four seasons they got out of Eckstein, who departed via free agency following the 2004 season. However, Fletcher seems to be carving out an identity of his own with the Angels, and while the comparison is favorable, we’ll take the player we see on the field today over the one that we had in the past.
David Fletcher Watch: Angels infielder continues hot hitting
While Fletcher has slowed down from his astronomical start, he has continued to be a table-setter atop the Angels line-up and provided one of the few steadying forces for the team thus far in 2020.
Games – 12
Plate Appearances – 56
Hits – 16
Batting Average – .348
On-Base – .429
OPS – .972