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OC Register: What does Angels leadoff hitter David Fletcher have to add to his game?


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TEMPE, Ariz. — Joe Maddon could speak endlessly about what he likes in David Fletcher’s game.

Ask him for what he’d like to see Fletcher add to his toolbox, and it gets a little tougher.

Pressed to come up with something Wednesday morning, the Angels manager said Fletcher might be able to be more of a stolen base threat.

“It’s not like he’s going to go out and steal 40, but a situational base-stealing threat, where we could take advantage of maybe a slow time to the plate, or maybe a catcher that doesn’t throw well,” Maddon said. “That’d be it. From what I’ve seen so far, that would be the one area. I’m not saying that’s so important that it’s going to transform his game. I’m saying that would be the one thing, because I can’t tell you anything else.”

Coming off a season in which Fletcher played well enough to slip onto an MVP ballot with a 10th-place vote, he is poised to be the Angels’ everyday second baseman and leadoff hitter.

Barring injury to third baseman Anthony Rendon or shortstop Jose Iglesias, Fletcher won’t need to worry about bouncing between those positions, as he has in the past two years.

Without needing to spend as much time staying sharp at other positions, Fletcher could be primed to show “the best version of him,” Maddon said.

Fletcher shrugged, as he does at most questions, when asked if it will make a difference to him to be settled at one position.

“I don’t know if it’ll add anything,” he said. “It’s kind of nice to be able to get all my work at one spot.”

As for Maddon’s suggestion that maybe he could steal more bases, Fletcher pointed out that the opportunities to steal are slim when he’s on base ahead of Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. They are quite capable of driving him in from first, and if he steals second that simply opens a base for the Trout or Rendon to be walked.

Fletcher, who has 13 career stolen bases, remains more focused on getting on first than he is on stealing second, and he’s done the former at an improving clip. He has lifted his on-base percentage from .316 to .350 to .376.

That’s a product of improved discipline and exceptional bat-to-ball skills, both of which have been on display in just his first four trips to the plate this spring. He’s walked three times and punched a 103 mph fastball into right field for a single.

To Maddon, it’s the kind of game that could play even better with a deadened baseball this year, reducing the appeal of all-or-nothing power hitters in favor of more players like Fletcher.

“These guys are going to become more valuable,” Maddon said. “Analytics will actually change what people are seeking in the future. There’s going to be a different template compared to what it’s been.”

ALSO

The development of any players who don’t make the opening day roster will be slowed somewhat by MLB’s decision to start the season with at least one month of alternate training sites instead of normal Triple-A games, but Maddon said that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. “It’s not perfect, but as long as they’re going to play, I’m good with it,” he said. “As long as they’re going to get a full season of development.” At the moment the plan is to play a full Triple-A season, but it would end a month later. …

Max Stassi, who is rehabbing from hip surgery, still has not been cleared to play in a game, but Maddon said he’s been fully participating in workouts and feels “great.” …

Brandon Marsh is limited to DH at the moment because of an arm issue. Maddon said it’s not serious, calling the limitation “one of those overly cautious things.” Marsh is scheduled get the start at DH in the Angels’ game Friday. …

Felix Peña still has not thrown in a game, but Maddon said he’s not injured, “just working on some things.” …

Jaime Barria was scheduled to throw a simulated game Wednesday afternoon. Because Barria is essentially No. 7 on the Angels rotation depth chart, they opted to have him get his first game action in that setting instead of a regular exhibition game.

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From may 2018

I don't know all his defensive stats but this guy looks super solid to me. Has good fundamentals and range.  He looks confident out there. His approach at the plate seems to be the same. Is there room for a NEW guy like this in a starting line up or do you have to have the ability to hit 15-20 HRS?  Has launch angles replaced the the line drive single hitter? Which is better for a team, a player who hits .265 with 20 hrs or a guy who hits .295 with 2 hrs? I like the the .295 guy because it's better entertainment. Base running(1st to 3rd, scoring from 2nd on a base hit), bunting, stealing and plays at the plate.    

Just saying. And my next surprise is Brandon Marsh. He is going to be an All-Star in a few years. 

 

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15 minutes ago, Rollinghard said:

From may 2018

I don't know all his defensive stats but this guy looks super solid to me. Has good fundamentals and range.  He looks confident out there. His approach at the plate seems to be the same. Is there room for a NEW guy like this in a starting line up or do you have to have the ability to hit 15-20 HRS?  Has launch angles replaced the the line drive single hitter? Which is better for a team, a player who hits .265 with 20 hrs or a guy who hits .295 with 2 hrs? I like the the .295 guy because it's better entertainment. Base running(1st to 3rd, scoring from 2nd on a base hit), bunting, stealing and plays at the plate.    

Just saying. And my next surprise is Brandon Marsh. He is going to be an All-Star in a few years. 

 

I suppose it depends on OBP. If the .295 hitter is over aggressive and is only on base at a .325 clip and the .265 hitter has a .370 OBP, it makes the choice pretty simple. 

 

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