Card: 2020 Topps #134
Position: 2B, 3B, SS
"“Our mom taught us Italian when we were young,” Dominic (David's brother) said. “We kind of grew up speaking Italian and then over the years lost little bits and pieces. We still speak decent Italian. It was good enough to be able to have a decent conversation with our family.” (LA Times, Jan. 18, 2023)
David Owen Fletcher (born May 31, 1994 in Orange, CA) is an infielder for the Atlanta Braves. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the sixth round of the 2015 Major League Baseball draft. He made his MLB debut in 2018 and took over as the team's regular second baseman after Ian Kinsler was traded to the Boston Red Sox in mid-season and hit .275 in 80 games. He was traded to the Braves in the 2023-24 offseason. David and Dominic Fletcher are Italian on his mother's side of the family.
Fletcher is acclaimed by fans and baseball media alike for his defensive abilities in the middle infield. Between his debut in June 2018 and April 2022, Fletcher posted a total of 41 Defensive Runs Saved, the 15th-most in MLB and the most on the Angels.
Fletcher has been considered an underrated player on a national scale, with Sports Illustrated labeling him an "anonymous talent". Due to his short stature, contact-hitting approach, and defensive abilities, Fletcher has been compared to former Angels middle infielder David Eckstein, a player that he idolized while growing up not far from Angel Stadium.
In 2019, Fletcher played 154 games for the Angels, with third base his main position, although he also started games at second base, shortstop and in left field. He hit .290 with 6 homers and 49 RBIs, and scored 83 runs. His OBO was a solid .350, but given his lack of power, his OP+ was still below average at 94. He was really a throw-back player, a middle infielder with a good glove, a decent batting average and superior bat-handling skill, of the type that would be found on almost any team in the 1970s and 1980s but had become exceedingly rare in the 21st century.
In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he doubled down on the type, leading the American League in singles while batting .319 in 49 games. He still didn't have much power, but with an OBP of .376, there was no denying that he was a useful hitter to gave around near the top of the batting order, as reflected in his OPS+ of 117. This time, his main position was shortstop, with some additional starts at second base, with the Angels having signed Anthony Rendon to an expensive free agent contract to play third base.
In 2021, he ended the first half with a flourish, obtaining a hit in his final 24 games before the All-Star break. He then started off the second half exactly where he had left off, not only extending his streak to 26 games, but going 6 for 10 with 4 doubles over his first two games. He had by then raised his batting average to .318. He had a streak within the streak, with multiple hits in 7 of his last 8 games, during which he had gone an incredible 22 for 37 (.595).
By then the hitting streak was the second longest in team history, trailing only a 28-game one by Garret Anderson in 1998. He had started the season batting 9th, but was switched to the lead-off spot shortly after the hitting streak began. Defensively, he was back to his original position, second base, with the occasional start at short. His streak ended with an 0-fer on July 18th.
Fletcher's brother, Dominic Fletcher, was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2nd round of the 2019 amateur draft and made his MLB debut in 2023. Both David and Dominic were members of Team Italy in the 2023 WBC.
David is part of the MLB Current Players Tour – Go To The Next Stop
See David’s baseball cards at TCDB
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