Joe Maddon has officially announced that David Fletcher will be moving back to shortstop this year for the LA Angels. Fletcher was last primarily a shortstop in 2020, where he played at short for 27 games as opposed to second base for just 15, third base for just eight, and right field for just one.
Last year, however, Jose Iglesias was at short instead of Fletcher. Fletcher played just 20 games at shortstop compared to his 142 at second. Iglesias was terrible at shortstop, and got released during the year because of it. Fletcher, on the other hand, was actually somehow better last year at short than he was at second.
Fletcher had an outstanding 11 defensive runs saved at second base last year, but had two at short. If Fletcher played 142 games at shortstop like he did at second base, he would have had 14.2 defensive runs saved, which is of course three more than he had in 142 games at second base.
Putting David Fletcher at short was undoubtedly the right move by LA Angels' Manager Joe Maddon.
David Fletcher is the best defensive infielder on the LA Angels, and needs to play the most difficult spot in the infield. As Orange County Register Angels beat reporter Jeff Fletcher pointed out in his above tweet, competing for playing time at second base will now be Tyler Wade, Matt Duffy, Luis Rengifo, Jack Mayfield, and Andrew Velazquez. As Fletcher pointed out, though, the latter three were optioned.
That's the right move for the Halos. Have the best player at short, and then give both Wade and Duffy the opportunity to audition for the most playing time possible at second. To me, the right move is Wade due to his exceptional baserunning, but Duffy is more respected around the league than Wade, so he deserves his shot too.
As for Fletcher's offense, he had a terrible year last year (.262/.297/.324 slash line). It was as recent as 2020, however, where Fletcher was very impressive with the bat. He hit .319, got on-base 37.6% of the time, and slugged .425 (.801 OPS) with an OPS+ of 120. Hopefully the Halos will see the type of offensive production of old from Fletcher. They at least know he's going to give the team elite play in the field.