Last year Jessica shared this interview with Angels prospect David Fletcher. At that time he had recently been promoted to AAA Salt Lake after being praised the previous off season by Billy Eppler at the season seat holders dinner.
Since that time, Fletcher’s stock has continued to rise. He got an extended look with the big club during Spring Training, even notching some playing time in the Freeway Series in front of his family and friends.
His slash line as I type this: .354/.400/.592 including 11 doubles on 130 trips to the plate. September might not get here fast enough, Fletcher has to be on the radar to replace a struggling Ian Kinsler.
You can follow him on Twitter @d22fletcher and follow his journey to the majors.
The Orange native took some time before a game to catch up with us, and here’s the transcript:
You are absolutely killing it this year. Is there something in particular you are working on or is it a little more familiarity with the AAA level?
“I’ve definitely made some swing adjustments and I think a little bit of familiarity with the pitching helps as well. But I did make some adjustments to my swing.”
And would mind sharing what those were with us?
“Yeah. Just little things. Trying to work on my bat plane and work on kind of driving the ball more..”
I saw you in a game in Tempe just smoke a ball up the middle, right over second base. That’s your game, right? Contact and getting on base?
“Yeah I’ve always been kind of a contact guy. I’m trying to not get away from that but also looking to drive more balls early in the count, for sure.”
And you are also walking more this year. Is that something you are working on, the coaches are working on, or is it just kind of happening?
“That’s one of the things I’ve focused on: trying to get my pitch and drive it, meaning sometimes taking pitches that I can’t drive and getting a little deeper into counts. Just another thing for me.”
You mentioned getting more familiar with the AAA level. Are you a big scouting report guy, or video guy, or do you like to just get in the box and react?
“The scouting reports on pitchers definitely help. You kind of know them and kind of think with them as far as what they are going to throw in different counts. But for me, just having my approach going into the game or going into each at bat and knowing what I’m looking for, trying to lay off everything else.”
I’ve heard the biggest difference as you move up the ladder is that you get fewer and fewer good pitches to hit in each at bat ...
...does that rings true in your experience?
“Yeah. I think it just becomes more important that you lay off the pitches that aren’t good pitches to hit and that will get you more good pitches to hit, if that makes any sense.”
Being in AAA you are facing a lot of pitchers with MLB experience. Do you get a bigger kick out of getting a hit off one of them or is a hit a hit?
“I don’t think I even notice that, its just all the pitchers up here are pretty good. I mean, I treat them all the same.”
And there are a lot of really nice AAA ballparks nowadays. What are some of your favorite ones to play in?
“Our home ballpark in Salt Lake is one of my favorites, and its not just because it is our home park. That is a really fun place to play.
We’re in Sacramento right now and that is a nice park. They get really nice crowds out here.
El Paso is a really nice ballpark, too. Those three are pretty nice.”
I lived in Sacramento when that field was being built and it is a great place to spend a summer evening.
They also had a donut bacon cheeseburger. It is good, but you probably wouldn’t want to eat it before going out to play second base.
Are you aware of the fact that Billy Eppler spoke really highly of you at the season ticket holders dinner year before last?
He was asked about a prospect to keep an eye on and immediately named you. He’s then brought you into the last two big league camps and given you extended looks. What is it like being in the big league clubhouse and playing in the big league Spring Training games?
“That experience was really good for me, definitely. Getting to play with all those guys and even more importantly, probably, working out with those guys on a daily basis just seeing how they go about their daily routines. That was really big for me.”
And how is it, kind of socially? Can you just walk up to somebody and say ‘hey, I’m working on this, what do you do?’
“Yeah. Every guy on the team, they’re just really open and I got to learn a lot by not only watching but also talking to them and asking questions, too.”
You also have some guys on the Bees with some MLB experience, Carter and Young, for example. Do you lean on those guys or get information from those guys about what to expect at the next level?
“Yeah, we’re pretty close on this team. Everyone’s pretty close on this team. It makes it really fun especially when we’ve got a good mix of guys who have played in the league for a long time and younger guys like me. Its definitely nice to have those guys.”
At your current pace you’re likely going to be wearing an Angels uniform sooner rather than later. When you are this close, does it make it almost a little difficult to concentrate on AAA?
“Not really. I kind of don’t really focus on those things. I just focus on my day to day work and getting better each day.”
You played shortstop in college..
..and they’ve had you move around the infield a little bit. Do you think your position flexibility is something that helps get you to that next level?
“Yes. I think the way the game is right now it is definitely important to be able to play multiple positions so I’ve been playing all three around the infield. I think that definitely helps.”
And how great would it be to get called up and get to play right down the street from where you grew up?
“That’s pretty cool getting drafted by the hometown team. That would be really cool getting to play so close to home, for sure.”
Were you able to have quite a few family and friends out in Tempe, at least for stretches?
“Yeah. We played in the Freeway Series too. I had some family and friends come up for that and it was pretty cool.”
That must have been great. I really appreciate your time. Have a great game tonight and I’ll get you a copy of the interview.
“Thank you. I appreciate that.”
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