David Fletcher is a fun player, but did he over-perform in 2020?
When a team is not in contention and players on their roster appear to have peaked in terms of trade value, logically speaking it wouldn’t make much sense to keep them around. This is especially true when they have two things every team is looking for: years of control and youth.
Everything I just said suggests trading David Fletcher is an obvious call to make. Fletcher is painfully average in every facet of the game, but Angels fans want to keep him because he gets on base and doesn’t cost them a whole lot for a couple of years. It makes total sense. He is a genuinely fun player and a fan favorite. However, in an off-season where the Angels need to prioritize pitching help, Fletcher could be their biggest trade asset.
That’s why they should trade him. Fletcher has two years left until he’s eligible for arbitration, setting him up for free agency in 2025. Even with the issues in the underlying data, a player thats produced WARs as high as Fletcher and has his ability to play three positions should garner value. The Angels should be mentioning him in every negotiation taking place right now.
Fletcher’s 2020 season adjusted for 653 PA (2019 total) would’ve been a 4.5 WAR. Just over a win higher than his 2019 total of 3.4. Now, due to the small sample sizes, the Angels can exploit his inherent value. However, his extremely positive 2020 results were boosted by a ridiculously high BABIP, which wasn’t at all due to an elite swing path, or otherwise known as his VBA (vertical bat angle).
For those that don’t know, VBA ties into BABIP & xwOBA when projecting future success as the farther a VBA gets away from 32 degrees (on middle quadrant pitches), the lower BABIPs he’ll run in the future. Fletcher managed to run a .348 BABIP in 2020 compared to .317 in 2019 with a -25 VBA.