David Fletcher isn't the answer at shortstop

Aug 17, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels second baseman David Fletcher (22) hits
Aug 17, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels second baseman David Fletcher (22) hits / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels have the makings of a good offensive team when healthy. Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani of course are two of the best hitters in the game. Anthony Rendon, if he can get back to his 2019 form, is a great player.

The Angels have Jared Walsh who hit 29 home runs in 2021. I expect him to bounce back in 2023. Luis Rengifo and Taylor Ward both broke out this past season and can improve as well.

The Angels have a top prospect in Logan O'Hoppe who might get a crack at the number-one catcher job. They also have young outfielders in Jo Adell and Mickey Moniak who with the departure of hitting coach Jeremy Reed, might break out.

David Fletcher is the weak link in an Angels lineup that when healthy, should be formidable.

David Fletcher is a fan favorite in Anaheim. He's a scrappy player who's an elite defender in the middle infield. He definitely has some value, but there's one glaring hole in his game. He's a very bad hitter.

Fletcher is a singles hitter who doesn't walk enough for him to be valuable at all offensively. He can hit for a decent average, but doesn't get on base at a great clip and doesn't hit for power at all. He essentially relies on finding holes and a high BAbip.

At one point, Fletcher had lots of promise to be a future piece of this Angels team. He had a 95 OPS+ with sparkling defense in 154 games just three seasons ago in 2019. He was a 3.8 bWAR player because of that.

In 2020, he had his best offensive season yet, slashing .319/.376/.425 with three home runs and 18 RBI in the shortened 60-game season. Fletcher was able to accumulate 2.0 WAR in just 49 games played.

Something important to keep in mind about that season is he had a .348 BAbip. This meant his success was unsustainable, and that's proven to be true in the two seasons since.

In 2021 he played in 157 games and slashed .262/.297/.324 with two home runs and 47 RBI. A .262 batting average isn't bad, but he didn't walk much at all. In addition to the lack of walks, he hit just two home runs in 665 plate appearances.

This past season, Fletcher only played in 61 games because of injury. In those games, he slashed .255/.288/.333 with two home runs and 17 RBI. He had a 77 OPS+. It was more of the same offensively.

Fletcher is an elite defender and has proven that every year of his career. He'll always find a spot on a team at least as a backup. For Fletcher to be the answer long term he has to hit, and outside of a short season, he just hasn't done that.

Fletcher has three years left on his deal for $18.5 million dollars total. After the 2025 season he has two club options worth $8 million dollars apiece.

The Angels have Livan Soto who in a short sample showed some things offensively. They also have Zach Neto in the minors who was their recent first round pick who's also a shortstop who might be ready in a year or two.

Fletcher isn't a player the Angels should just release or give away right now, but he shouldn't be a part of the Angels future plans at second base or shortstop. He just doesn't hit enough.

Next. 3 biggest areas of need for the Angels to address this offseason. dark