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Thursday, August 19, 2021

Angels’ David Fletcher Is Baseball’s Most Anonymous Talent

What he lacks in the ability to hit the ball hard, he makes up for with a knack to hit the ball in specific spots to beat opposing defenses. A look at his spray chart shows an even distribution of hits across all parts of the diamond.

“You can’t defend him, because when you move somewhere he’ll hit it where you’re not,” Gill says. “It’s the most uncanny, elite performance skill I’ve ever seen. If you move your right fielder in, he’s gonna hit it over the right fielder’s head. I don’t know how, but he will. It’ll fall where they’re not.”

The doubts about his ability to hit persisted even after he reached the majors. After he hit his first home run as a rookie, the Angels’ dugout opted against using their typical silent treatment for a player’s first career homer and instead greeted Fletcher warmly in the dugout because, in then manager Mike Scioscia’s words, “We don’t know how many more Fletch is going to hit.”...

Fletcher’s success is proof that there still exists space for old-school players in today’s game. In a year where the league batting average is flirting with the all-time low and there have been a record number of no-hitters, Fletcher’s approach flies in the face of the three true outcomes that have been popularized in the Statcast era, when exit velocity and barrel statistics are readily available. By those measures, Fletcher will likely never stand out, but he’s thrived at the highest level precisely because he’s different, not in spite of that.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 19, 2021 at 07:02 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: david fletcher

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   1. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: August 23, 2021 at 07:06 AM (#6035708)
   2. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: August 23, 2021 at 08:42 AM (#6035719)
Fletcher leads the AL in hits (145), but his OPS+ is just 88. Has anyone ever led the league in hits with an OPS+ that low? (Answer: yes. Doc Cramer had an MLB-leading 200 hits in 1940 with a OPS+ of 84. Indeed, Cramer was an All-Star every year from 1937-40 with OPS+ figures of 81, 80, 85 and 84.)
   3. Bret Sabermatrician Posted: August 23, 2021 at 04:04 PM (#6035821)
There are 4 players with over 2500 career hits and an ops+ under 90. One was Doc Cramer above. The other three are:
   4. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 23, 2021 at 04:09 PM (#6035823)
Buckner? Aparicio? Ozzie Smith?
   5. RJ in TO Posted: August 23, 2021 at 04:13 PM (#6035825)
Omar Vizquel would be one of the other three.
   6. Hombre Brotani Posted: August 23, 2021 at 04:13 PM (#6035826)
I have to assume Omar Vizquel is one of those.
   7. RJ in TO Posted: August 23, 2021 at 04:13 PM (#6035827)
Also, probably Rabbit Maranville.
   8. The Honorable Ardo Posted: August 23, 2021 at 04:33 PM (#6035842)
Fletcher leads the AL in hits (145), but his OPS+ is just 88.
Proving the point. There's space for old-school players in today's game, but you have to be a defensive standout like Fletcher to help your team win.

Harold Castro, who's listed at the same height and weight as Fletcher (5'9'', 185), has a .288 career batting average, but, having even less ISO than Fletcher (.072 vs. .087) and being merely average instead of superlative in the field, has negative WAR.
   9. Hombre Brotani Posted: August 23, 2021 at 04:51 PM (#6035849)
Fletcher's walk rate has never been high, but it's literally nearly half what it was the previous two seasons. I think Fletcher is a better offensive player than he's showing this year. Of course, his defense will play regardless of his offense.

The Angels have only had three players they've drafted since 2010 get more than 1000 PAs with the team: Fletcher, C.J. Cron, and Cole Calhoun. It's been a ####### miserable decade of player development.

EDIT: Trumbo was drafted way back in 2004. Bourjos in 2005. Jesus.
   10. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: August 23, 2021 at 05:30 PM (#6035866)
David Fletcher might be my favorite player now. I still love Mike Trout, but Fletcher is fantastic to watch. I am a bit concerned about the dip in walk rate this year; it was never a strong suit, but he's swinging at a ton of stuff outside the zone (and mostly making contact with it, but still). That said, he's a 4-win player who plays an undeniably fun brand of baseball. He's great.
   11. Smitty* Posted: August 23, 2021 at 07:21 PM (#6035899)
Wow, did they draft anybody good in 2009? :)

Oh, and don’t you hate pants?

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