GrittyVeterans

David Fletcher's Upside

61 posts in this topic

It's early but he's slashing .307/.351/.409/.760. The consensus before the season was that he's better suited for being a super utility player. But obviously if he keeps that line up he could be an everyday 2B quite easily in this league. 

He's still not 25 and has less than a full season of MLB experience so it's not crazy to think he's still making improvements.

Also, his defense at every position he plays is pretty amazing. I think he could probably handle center field too if they want to make him a true super utility guy. He's a great athlete obviously.

Our best lineup obviously contains both Fletcher and La Stella in it this year but I'm wondering if we should just make him the everyday 3B or 2B for next year. He's on pace for almost 5 WAR right now

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With the current roster, I don't see any reason why he shouldn't be on the field every day.

At the end of the season I could see him playing a game where he plays every position.

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What I've noticed last season and this year is that Fletcher consistently makes hard contact and he rarely strikes out. 

In fact, he currently has more walks (6) than strikeouts (4). 

Think David Eckstein with better defense, arm and position versatility. 

Fletcher like Eck just looks like an all around winner and player that every team would want on their 25-man roster. 

He's a starter IMO, not a backup. 

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I really think Fletcher will settle into about where he was last season with a .275/.320 line which, without a higher slugging percentage, is going to put him in that 90ish OPS+ range for hitting. Not high enough OBP to be a leadoff hitter and not enough power to be a prototypical 3rd baseman. 

2nd base looks like his best position to hold down, his defense seems to have it's most value there since the hot corner doesn't require as much. I can see him locking down 2nd once LaStella is gone. For now, LaStella at 3rd and Fletcher at second, or vice versa works for the time being.

Should Jones develop to his potential as a hitter, he may push Fletcher back to the utility infielder role. But that won't happen this season. 

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I think his upside is Chone Figgins light.  He won’t have the stolen bases but he has the versatility.  I am still not positive he can get on base at a high enough clip to be a lead off hitter like Figgy was, but he is fun to watch and easy to root for.  My concerns about his on base ability stem from his 5-6% walk rate in the minors and the majors.  

Here is my take on him.  It is similar to when Doc talks about taking a guy that gets so much of his value on defense and you have him move positions, so now you are paying a premium for a different guy essentially.  So my take is, if you have him play one position, maybe he is amazing at 2nd, but you might actually hurt his overall value to the team because being able to play all of those positions well is crucial to a team.  It is worth more than having one good 2nd baseman.  

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Posted (edited)

Going to need a little more data to start really getting a grasp of who Fletcher is...
For a vast majority of his minor league career, and for his taste of the bigs last year, his offensive profile was limited to a slappy singles hitter and that was it. Not a lot of power, not a lot of strikeouts, not a lot of walks...he was able to get the ball in play a lot and his speed got him on base enough. 

But he was different in AAA last year, and different in the bigs so far this year. 

His BB% has crept up - it's now at 6.4%, which is still below MLB average, but his MLB strikeout percentage has plummeted down from 11% last year to a (likely) MLB-best of 4% this year. His 33% line drive mark encourages some sustainability too. 

For now, Fletcher's offensive future is going to be tied closely to his BAbip. He simply doesn't walk enough or hit for enough power for it to vary much, so ultimately, it's going to be how lucky he is. He could hit .340 for a good long while if everything falls in, he could hit .250 if he is unlucky - it's hard to say. He puts everything in play and almost everything is a single, not much more to it. 

Now, if he can get that BB% up to 8-10%, keep his K% at a league-best, and maybe sneak in a few more doubles...you're maybe looking at a .315/.375/.400 guy. But he's still going to have his fate tied to BAbip quite a bit.

It will be hard for him to be consistently better than a .280/.330/.370/.700 type unless he makes some dramatic changes to his plate discipline.

Edited by totdprods

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I like what I've seen so far, but it's far too early to tell what he can and will be, IMO.  He has certainly exceeded my expectations.

This is exactly the kind of player that Angel fans fall in love with quickly... He has all those qualities fans love.  Much in the same way they loved Eckstein, Figgins, Johnny Giovatella, Izturis, etc.

The question is what he is doing now, sustainable?  Given the current roster, I think he's the best option to play every day over some of the others - but in the long-term, I still feel like he's best as a super utility role.  I would prefer a guy with bigger upside over Fletcher - but he certainly doesn't hurt the team when he's in there.  Right now, today - again - given the current roster, he should be in the lineup every day.  In any case - he should have a long career in major league baseball.  Every team can use a guy like this.

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7 minutes ago, totdprods said:

Going to need a little more data to start really getting a grasp of who Fletcher is...
For a vast majority of his minor league career, and for his taste of the bigs last year, his offensive profile was limited to a slappy singles hitter and that was it. Not a lot of power, not a lot of strikeouts, not a lot of walks...he was able to get the ball in play a lot and his speed got him on base enough. 

But he was different in AAA last year, and different in the bigs so far this year. 

His BB% has crept up - it's now at 6.4%, which is still below MLB average, but his MLB strikeout percentage has plummeted down from 11% last year to a (likely) MLB-best of 4% this year. His 33% line drive mark encourages some sustainability too. 

For now, Fletcher's offensive future is going to be tied closely to his BAbip. He simply doesn't walk enough or hit for enough power for it to vary much, so ultimately, it's going to be how lucky he is. He could hit .340 for a good long while if everything falls in, he could hit .250 if he is unlucky - it's hard to say. He puts everything in play and almost everything is a single, not much more to it. 

Now, if he can get that BB% up to 8-10%, keep his K% at a league-best, and maybe sneak in a few more doubles...you're maybe looking at a .315/.375/.400 guy. But he's still going to have his fate tied to BAbip quite a bit.

It will be hard for him to be consistently better than a .280/.330/.370/.700 type unless he makes some dramatic changes to his plate discipline.

Right.

I think that Fletcher's game is still evolving. 

He's got enough speed to steal more bases and I think he can hit 7-10 HR's over a full season, so he's not a slap hitter. I can see him hitting 35-45 doubles because of the hard contact he makes. 

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20 minutes ago, Blarg said:

I really think Fletcher will settle into about where he was last season with a .275/.320 line which, without a higher slugging percentage, is going to put him in that 90ish OPS+ range for hitting. Not high enough OBP to be a leadoff hitter and not enough power to be a prototypical 3rd baseman. 

2nd base looks like his best position to hold down, his defense seems to have it's most value there since the hot corner doesn't require as much. I can see him locking down 2nd once LaStella is gone. For now, LaStella at 3rd and Fletcher at second, or vice versa works for the time being.

Should Jones develop to his potential as a hitter, he may push Fletcher back to the utility infielder role. But that won't happen this season. 

I believe a .275/.320 is his absolute floor -- which isn't bad. I see him as a potential .300 hitter with a .340-.350 OBP.

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Posted (edited)

Giavotella, wow, forgot about him already. The two are actually really similar, except Fletcher has way, way better defense and contact, whereas Gio had a little more pop.

Edited by totdprods

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Just now, True Grich said:

Lies, damn lies and statistics.

It's only 27 games of data, so it's better to look at the end of year results before saying this or that, with the exception of sprint speed which is unlikely to change unless he hurts his leg. 

Also, in terms of exit velocity and hard hit rate %'s, you're obviously going to get a higher rating from a power hitter or larger man than that of Fletcher's stature.

Again, see David Eckstein. 

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3 minutes ago, Chuckster70 said:

It's only 27 games of data, so it's better to look at the end of year results before saying this or that, with the exception of sprint speed which is unlikely to change unless he hurts his leg. 

Also, in terms of exit velocity and hard hit rate %'s, you're obviously going to get a higher rating from a power hitter or larger man than that of Fletcher's stature.

Again, see David Eckstein. 

I just wanted to use that quote....

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Fletcher is at an interesting spot right now. He is sitting on 94 plate appearances, which is small, but its starting to get there for a few advanced stats. Things I notice glancing at his stat line: his BABIP is only slightly higher than his career BABIP - .313 vs .308. Fangraphs was projecting him to have a BABIP below .300 this year (probably because he has not had enough plate appearances in the majors yet for his career BABIP to stabilize). Either way, he is hitting well enough now that I am not super worried about his BABIP normalizing and tanking his numbers in the future.

So, what can we tell? two things pop out to me when I"m looking at his stats. he is walking a bit more (from 4.9% to 6.4%), and he is striking out a ton less (11.1% to 4.3%). You would expect walk rate to start stabilizing at 120 plate appearances according to Fangraphs, but you would expect strikeout rate to start stabilizing at only 60 plate appearances. Its worth noting, "starting to stabilize" is very different then "is what we can expect moving forward." But, even still, this is an indication that the drop in strikeouts is legit - and, the increase in walk rate may be as well. According to Fangraphs, he still could stand to walk a lot more (a BB% of 5.5% is considered "poor", and a BB% of 7.0% is considered "below average"), but its not looking like quite so much of a liability in his game - just a feature he isn't great at. His k%, on the other hand, is interesting - 12.5% is considered "Great", and 10.0% is considered "Excellent." Seeing as that is the best rating available, to me that makes 4.3% sound "unsustainable". It will be interesting to see what his k% looks like going down the line this year.

What's my point on all of this? If you liked Fletcher last year, you should be happy with these numbers. According to some early indicators, he may have actually improved his game over the off season - both at the plate, and as far as his versatility goes. If you weren't a fan of him last year, I would be skeptical of him this year as well. His slash line is likely to get worse, even if he can maintain this low K rate. Either way, I think the interesting story line to watch moving forward with him will be his K% and his BB%. He is showing improvement in both of those, and those are the two stats which seem to stabilize the soonest with hitters.

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