The Angels have a surefire Rookie of the Year candidate in Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani. He arrived in MLB with great fanfare, throwing 100 mph fastballs, and hitting more home runs than any Japanese rookie who came before him. As Jessica DeLine wrote so well, he should be the obvious pick for the award.
But he’s not the only Angels rookie who deserves a spot on voters' ballots. David Fletcher has more than held his own when compared to his rookie contemporaries. The voters ballot contains three lines, and David deserves to be listed on one of them.
Sound like a stretch? Take a look at the numbers.
According to Fangraphs, Fletcher has the 4th highest WAR among A.L. rookie position players. The list:
- Joey Wendle 2.8
- Shohei Ohtani 2.7
- Miguel Andujar 2.2
- David Fletcher 2.0
- Gleyber Torres 2.0
Baseball-Reference has Fletcher’s WAR above Andujar and right below Ohtani, Torres, and Wendle.
Amazingly, Fletcher’s WAR sits right between the two vaunted Yankees rookies despite his playing in 74 games compared to 133 for Andujar and 107 for Torres. He’s simply been the better player on the field.
And he’s doing well in more traditional statistics, too.
According to the Angels PR department, Fletcher ranks in the top 4 among A.L. rookies in the following statistical categories since his call-up on June 13:
Hits (74) - 3rd
Runs (34) - 4th
Doubles (16) - 4th
Triples (2) - Tied for 3rd
Batting average (.278) - 3rd
On Base Percentage (.322) - 4th
The primary catalyst for Fletcher’s WAR has been his superb defense, but with his bat coming alive in recent weeks, he could vault up all of these lists in the coming days and weeks.
Fletcher, all in all, is a really good player who compares better with his colleagues than one might assume. Hopefully, the writers of the BBWAA give Fletcher his due on their Rookie of the Year ballots.
Ohtani is Ohtani and Andujar is having a solid season on a team the media loves to honor, but there’s a third place line on the Rookie of the Year ballot, and that's none other than the Angels second baseman, David Fletcher.