Prospect Countdown #12 : David Fletcher

Top 100 Los Angeles Angels' Prospects Countdown, #12 : Shortstop, David Fletcher (photo : Jerry Espinoza)

David Fletcher, Shortstop

HT : 5'10
WT : 175
DOB : May 31, 1994 (21), Orange, California
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, CA)
Acquired : Drafted in 6th Round of 2015 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : Unranked


If David Fletcher had held out for one extra year, he may have jumped multiple rounds in the draft and been one of the top college shortstops in the nation. Instead, he's now one of the top shortstops in Minor League Baseball, on his way towards the top with the Los Angeles Angels. Not a bad exchange, right? The Angels stole a gem in last year's draft and are now reaping the rewards.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Something that must be said of Fletcher is that he was taken as a sophomore in last year's draft. If he hadn't signed and opted to go back to LMU, he would have likely been one of the top shortstops coming up in this draft, turning him into a potential top 100 selection. The Angels were able to nab him at a young age and lower draft slot, and now he has professional coaches giving him a step up on the competition as opposed to a third year of collegiate play.

Fletcher will constantly be known for his defense. He has quick feet, which allow him to range deep to each side, and proving to be one of the best in the minor leagues at this. He doesn't have an explosive arm, but the transfer from glove to hand is very quick and he makes strong and accurate throws, which will keep him at shortstop for the long haul. This will remain something Fletcher will have in his career, and improvements are bound to happen which should make him at the very minimum a high-floor utility player in the future.

With all this, Fletcher is a set shortstop, but will see time around the diamond. This gives Fletcher more value at his position. Added to his quick feet is how he plays out on the base paths. He doesn't have elite speed, but is still above-average when it comes to rounding the base paths. He will be a threat at times to steal double digit bases, primarily with his baseball intellect. He's a smart base runner, capitalizing on any blunder from opposing players. Mix in some grinding abilities, and as mentioned above, his floor will remain high and he should see Major League time at some point with the lowest floor being a utility player.

The carrying tool for Fletcher and becoming a regular at the top levels will be his bat. He has the ability to get the bat to the ball, but it's not always hard contact and sometimes just a knack for putting the ball in play. He has a quick burst out of the box and will make enough contact and speed mixture to beat out infielders to first. There's no power to be spoken of, but when he tags the ball he can find the gaps as a pull-hitter. If he can add on some muscle and tweak his swing a little to get the barrel of the bat to the ball as opposed to just hitting the ball, he could become a strong candidate to tag the ball for extra-base hits and be a high average hitter.

Fletcher does have a nice approach at the plate. He primarily focuses on making contact, but waits it out to find his pitch and feeds off fastballs. He is aggressive enough to stay consistent in making contact while leaving his strikeout rates exceedingly low. Though he won't walk a lot, he has a keen eye for pitches in and out of the zone, and knows the proper time to be patient. This is something that will improve and he could become a nice on-base threat aside from his contact abilities.

VIDEO : Moore Baseball

Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

In his two years at LMU, Fletcher left his mark hitting .318/.359/.395, with 20 doubles, four triples, two home runs, 69 runs scored, 55 RBI and 31 stolen bases. As a freshman, Fletcher earned All-American honors from Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA, along with Second-Team All-West honors after holding a .736 OPS. As a junior, Fletcher earned WCC Defensive Player of the Year, and First-Team All-WCC honors, while being named LMU's Male Athlete of the Year. Fletcher hit safely in 71 of 87 games, and reached base in 77 of his final 83 games.

Fletcher launched into pro ball, hitting .311/.377/.414 with 16 doubles, five triples, one home run, 46 runs scored and 40 RBI between Rookie Ball and Low-A. While at Rookie Orem, Fletcher reached base in all but three of his 37 games, finishing with 19-game on-base streak where he saw a .909 OPS. Though he slowed down a little, Fletcher was still excellent in Low-A, reaching base in 28 of 32 games, and collecting hits in 23 of 32, with nine going for multiple hits. To add to his impressive debut season, Fletcher stole 17 bases, including three sets of back-to-back games with a steal, one being a three-stolen base set.

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EXPECTED FUTURE:

It's tricky assessing where Fletcher will land for this upcoming season, due to his age and stage in his career. He's shown he's above the grade of most around the same age he is, and his performance plays louder than Low-A where he's expected to go. This would mean a leap into High-A, which would put him well below the average experience level of the opposing players, but he should be ready for that leap.

When all is said and done, how Fletcher's bat develops will prove to show what happens in his career. His defense and quickness won't leave him suddenly, and can carry him to the upper levels of the minors with ease, even to a potential utility spot. If his bat picks up and he can add at least a small amount of power, he could become an every day shortstop at the Major League level.



For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout. Keep up with our countdown on Twitter with the hashtag, #LAATop100Prospects.

This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.



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