David Fletcher entered the 2023 season with a lot to prove. He had broken out in 2020, earning a five-year extension with the Los Angeles Angels because of it, but hadn't been nearly as productive since. Injuries certainly played a role, but Fletcher had a lot to prove before re-earning an everyday role as an offensive player.
Fletcher wound up making the Opening Day roster as a reserve. He'd appear in eight games early on, starting four of them, but he had just two hits in his first 16 at-bats before surprisingly being outrighted off the 40-man roster. Yes, he wasn't just sent down to the roster, he was removed from the 40-man roster entirely.
Zach Neto had taken the reigns at shortstop, and Fletcher once again had to prove himself. He played decently well when given the chances later on, but Fletcher's chances were awfully limited.
David Fletcher deserves a C grade for his 2023 season
David Fletcher's season numbers were nothing special. He slashed .247/.302/.326 with two home runs and 12 RBI. He had some big moments like his four-hit game at Coors Field which included a home run and five RBI, but for the most part, it was more of the same from Fletcher offensively.
When Fletcher isn't finding holes for singles, he gives very little at the plate. He doesn't walk or hit for power, making him not valuable whatsoever as a hitter without those singles. Fletcher is a great defender and plays the game hard, but until he hits more consistently or find a way to get on base he's going to struggle to see the field.
Fletcher did show signs of hitting a bit better as he hit .286 in 48 September plate appearances playing mostly everyday after his recall. That gives him some momentum heading into 2023, but an Opening Day roster spot is still a massive question mark. He's going to have to prove he's earned it in Spring Training.
This was a weird year for Fletcher because he had earned looks in the majors earlier based on how he was playing in the minors, but the Angels inexplicably kept turning to Andrew Velazquez ahead of him on the depth chart. With Squid out of the picture, Fletcher only has himself to worry about.
Fletcher remains a fan favorite and will play some sort of role with the Angels in 2024 as he has two years remaining on his extension, but how big of a role that will be remains to be seen. Hopefully he can find a way to be productive going through a fully healthy offseason.