One of the most curious developments this spring is the Angels Twitter account’s fascination with David Fletcher. The page first started featuring him in photos:
Then, they mic’d him up.
Fletch getting mic'd up was more than what we could have hoped for. pic.twitter.com/Azv8WMc1qx— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) February 28, 2020
The whole situation has ended with Fletcher becoming somewhat of a meme, and he was even alleged to be in the Angels offer for Mookie Betts.
However, the main concern remains getting him in the lineup. Although Fletcher can play all over the diamond, both in the infield and the outfield, he doesn’t have a position that he can call his own. Anthony Rendon mans third base. Andrelton Simmons has a lock on shortstop. Justin Upton patrols left field. And in the early going, it seems as if Tommy La Stella is the choice at second base, and Brian Goodwin is the pick for right field. Fletcher can play all these positions.
It seems unlikely that Fletcher will take much time away from Rendon, Upton, or Simmons, which the former two being well-paid superstars, and the latter a defensive whiz. Fletcher excels at defense in his own right, but he’s not going to displace Simmons.
Is a Goodwin-Fletcher platoon in right in the cards? It would make sense in theory, although Goodwin had reverse splits in 2019, and Fletcher is basically equal for his career.
As for La Stella, he did hit righties better than lefties in 2019, but he’s about equal for his career as well. It remains to be seen whether his power surge continues into 2020, but for now, he seems to have the second base job on lock.
How about in the batting order? Some fans like Fletcher at leadoff, but I prefer someone with his contact and bat-on-ball skills to hit lower in the lineup behind the meat of the order, when it is more likely he will hit with runners on. Mashers like Simmons, Jason Castro, and whoever plays first base will pop home runs once in a while, but their OBP skills pale in comparison to those at the top of the order. Slotting Fletcher behind Trout, Rendon, Shohei Ohtani, and Justin Upton, with someone else setting the table, seems to be the best idea to me.
It’s likely that Fletcher will get the majority of starts at second base against lefties if La Stella’s splits hold up, as well as some starts in right field. On occasion, he may spell Rendon, Simmons, or Upton at their respective positions, but this is not too probable. We’ll have to wait until the season starts to see how he gets utilized, but I think I can speak for most fans when I say I hope it’s more starts for Fletcher rather than fewer.