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A Look Into Second Base Options for the Future of the Angels

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ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 29: David Fletcher #22 of the Los Angeles Angels fields the ball while playing the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 29, 2020 in Anaheim, California. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. The day honoring Jackie Robinson, traditionally held on April 15, was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Angels won 16-3. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 29: David Fletcher #22 of the Los Angeles Angels fields the ball while playing the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 29, 2020 in Anaheim, California. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. The day honoring Jackie Robinson, traditionally held on April 15, was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Angels won 16-3. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
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Angels, David Fletcher
David Fletcher, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

Angels Second Basemen of the Future: David Fletcher

What seems like the obvious choice here, may not be so obvious after this season. Ever since David Fletcher was called up in 2018, he has only impressed, both offensively and defensively. Profiling more as a contact hitter, he has compiled a career OBP of .344 and a K rate of only 10.4%. As a second baseman, he has been rock solid, boasting a fielding percentage of .990.

In an effort to get Tommy La Stella more playing time, Fletcher has been employed as more of a utility player, logging significant time at second base (694.2 innings), third base (923.1 innings), shortstop (487.1 innings), left field (146.2 innings), and right field (18.0 innings). On August 29, La Stella was traded to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for former top prospect Franklin Baretto, leaving the second base position open for Fletcher to claim.

Ok, case closed we figured the second baseman of the future. Thanks for reading, bye!

Hold on a moment I am receiving a transmission through my earpiece… I have just been informed that there are other factors at play. Huh, who knew?

At the end of this season, defensive superstar shortstop Andrleton Simmons is set to become a free agent. If it were up to Angels manager Joe Maddon, Simmons would be an Angel in 2021.

"“How could you not love Andrelton Simmons playing shortstop for you? I always wish whomever the best for them and their family. I’m not here to negotiate for Andrelton or against the Angels. He’s just a really good baseball player that I think any team would love to have.” He said."

While the opinion of a team’s manager definitely carries weight, the decision is ultimately up to Eppler. At this point in time, all signs point to letting Andrelton Simmons walk. There have not been any known contract extension talks between his camp and the Angels. The acquisition of infielder Baretto also signifies the intent to not retain Simmons.

A large part of the reason why a team would be comfortable letting a player of Simmons’ caliber enter free agency is because of Fletcher. Simmons has missed considerable time over the past two seasons due to a reoccurring left ankle injury. While Simmons was on the injured list, Fletcher was slotted in shortstop. During that time, he proved he can do more than just handle the position, making only 2 errors in 207 innings (.979 fld%), while making highlight-reel plays.

I expect the Angels to let Simmons walk, and if they do, Fletcher would move into a full-time role at shortstop, leaving the second base position open for the taking. If they re-sign Simmons, expect Fletcher to be the starting second baseman in 2021.

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