Los Angeles’ David Fletcher is an interesting fantasy asset in 2021. He’s a compiler, requiring games played to accrue his stats, but he is an elite contributor in the batting average department. Across 283 big league games, he has a .292 batting average (.320 BABIP) and he hit .319 in the 2020 campaign. He doesn’t do it with an elite batted ball profile, but more so with excellent contact metrics, spreading the ball around the diamond and slightly above-average speed.
In 2020, Fletcher was one of 23 qualified hitters to hit at least .300, and one of just ten to hit at least .319. However, Fletcher’s average exit velocity of 84.7 miles per hour was the lowest of anyone to hit .300 or higher. Furthermore, only Fletcher and Raimel Tapia did so with an average exit velocity under 86.5 miles per hour.
His batted ball profile is massively underwhelming, but it is no surprise, and he’s been pretty consistent over the years. His barrel rate has remained steady, as has his average exit velocity, but the silver lining here is that his mark from 2020 (84.7 mph) was a career best for him! His launch angle continues to trend downward, but less fly balls for Fletcher are actually better. He doesn’t hit the ball hard enough to do damage through the air, so more line drives and grounders are actually better for the elite contact hitter.
He’s not a threat in the power department, but his .106 ISO in 2020 was a career best, and he homered once every 69 at-bats in 2020, which plays out to eight-to-nine home runs over 600 at-bats. Honestly, that would be massive for Fletcher’s fantasy value. You can see in the breakdown below that, yes, his expected slugging percentage was still below league average, he was more consistent throughout the year, and didn’t have massive peaks and valleys.
Albeit still underwhelming, some prolonged consistency, even in a shortened season, is encouraging.
His 10.9 percent strikeout rate was the fifth-lowest among qualified hitters, while his 96 percent zone contact rate and 92 percent contact rate were both best in baseball in 2020. This is nothing new to Fletcher by any means. Since the start of the 2018 season, his 91.3 percent contact mark leads baseball, while his zone contact rate (96%) and strikeout rate (10.3%) are second-and-third-best respectively.
He went two-for-three on the base paths in 2020, and for his career, he’s 13-for-17, which isn’t too shabby. He’s not an elite contributor in the speed department, but he’s quick enough and in a spot to steal about ten bases this season. Again, his upside here is capped, but anywhere from 8-12 is reasonable.
The question with Fletcher is if you can afford to take the hit in the power department. He’ll help your team’s batting average, provide some steals and some runs, but that’s about it. However, like I mentioned earlier, if he can continue his power pace from the 2020 season, eight-to-ten home runs for Fletcher would be amazing from a fantasy perspective.
His overall upside is limited, but his dual-eligibility is attractive, alongside the potential for ten home runs, ten stolen bases, and a .290 batting average. At his current price, that would be phenomenal. He’s going to hit at the top of the Angels lineup, with notable names like Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon behind him that should give him plenty of runs scored.
The scenario I mention there is likely his ceiling for the 2020 season, but he’s very affordable in drafts, and is the perfect complement to an earlier Joey Gallo or Giancarlo Stanton pick. In NFBC formats, his current average draft position (ADP) is pick 223, which makes him a late-15th round pick in 15-team formats. With three positions to his ledger and the ability to hit for a solid average, you can hardly do wrong with Fletcher at that point in the draft. If he slips in drafts, Trout and Rendon will ensure that you get plenty of runs scored with Fletcher, on top of his batting average.
Multi-positional eligibility, with second base being one of them, with a little bit of speed and a whole lot of batting average and runs scored make up for minimal power.