Angels pesky infielder David Fletcher is quietly putting up one of the best seasons of any player in their first full MLB season.
Angels infielder David Fletcher began last season at Triple-A after his third straight impressive Cactus League performance. The Halos went into their 2018 season with high hopes for new acquisitions Ian Kinsler and Zack Cozart and thus Fletcher found himself getting more time in the minors. That all changed on June 12 last summer when the kid affectionately known as Fletch was summoned by the Angels. He has not looked back.
Fletcher immediately provided stability to the Angels’ infield last season. While Cozart suffered injuries that kept him out of lineup and the Angels eventually traded Kinsler to Boston, Fletcher stepped up as an everyday infielder. Featuring a diminutive stature and heart and hustle reminiscent to former Angels legend David Eckstein, Fletcher, a product of nearby Orange, has endured himself as a fan favorite. His ability to play all over the field has been invaluable to the Halos. While playing the majority of games at third base, he can start at shortstop, second base, and the corner outfield positions when called upon. Like Eckstein, he has found himself to be a valuable fixture at the top of the Angels’ batting order and his performance has only continued to improve in his second year in majors.
Fletcher’s June call-up and eighty games in the Angels’ lineup last season disqualifies him as a rookie this season. However, Fletcher’s performance in his first full season this year rivals that of the likely Rookie of the Year favorites this season. Based on the Baseball-Reference Wins Above Replacement (rWAR) statistic, Fletcher has outperformed many of the current rookie class. Houston’s Yordan Alvarez, Tampa Bay’s Brandon Lowe, and Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. will be finalists for the rookie award, but Fletcher’s WAR has exceeded those players this year. Fletcher has the highest WAR this season of any player who made his MLB debut after June 1 of last season.
A.L. "Almost Rookie-of-the-Year"
2019 rWAR AL Players with MLB debut June 2018 or later:
3.6 David Fletcher
3.3 Yordan Alvarez
3.0 Brandon Lowe
2.2 Cavan Biggio
2.2 Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
1.7 Bo Bichette
1.6 Luis Rengifo
1.6 Orlando Mercado
1.5 Luis Arraez
— Halo Life ⚾ (@_HaloLife) September 13, 2019
Fletcher may not be a rookie this year, but Angels fans have much to be excited about in their dynamic infielder’s first full season. He will provide the Angels with a valuable, versatile weapon they will need to have to be championship contenders next season.
The Angels wrapped up a tough six-game homestand against Cleveland and Tampa Bay Sunday afternoon at the Big A. Things don’t get any easier this week as they once again try to play spoilers this week on the road. After a travel day Monday, they play a pair of difficult three-game series in the Bronx and Houston. The highlight is likely to be the Angels’ final game against C.C. Sabathia at Yankee Stadium Wednesday evening.
Although official starters have not been announced for all this week’s games, I would expect the Angels to see the following match-ups this coming week.
3:35 PM (PT) Tuesday at New York Yankees: Jose Suarez versus Luis Severino
3:35 PM (PT) Wednesday at New York Yankees: Dillon Peters versus C.C. Sabathia
3:35 PM (PT) Thursday at New York Yankees: Andrew Heaney versus J.A. Happ
5:10 PM (PT) Friday at Houston Astros: Jose Barria versus Zack Greinke
4:10 PM (PT) Saturday at Houston Astros: Patrick Sandoval versus Wade Miley
11:10 AM (PT) Sunday at Houston Astros: Jose Suarez versus Justin Verlander
Angels Down in The Farm
The Mesa Solar Sox will begin the Arizona Fall League season Wednesday, September 18, hosting the Scottsdale Scorpions. The Solar Sox’ lineup features Angels outfield prospects Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh along with catcher Franklin Torres and second baseman Jahmai Jones. Jones returns to the AFL for the second straight season while Torres, who converted from infielder to catcher this season, gets additional reps behind the plate against some of the game’s top talent. Angels pitchers Isaac Mattson, Austin Warren, and Nathan Bates plan to contribute to Mesa’s pitching staff this season. Mattson excelled this regular season at three levels and will be interesting to follow in the AFL.
The league’s schedule extends through next month, culminating in the AFL championship game on Saturday, October 26.