All season long, Joe Maddon has been singing the praises of Los Angeles Angels second baseman David Fletcher. In the midst of his 26-game hit streak, Maddon took plenty of time to exclaim that Fletcher should be an All-Star.
While he ultimately wasn’t chosen, that hasn’t stopped him from putting together another highly productive season at the plate and at second base. Maddon has now shifted his focus to end-of-season awards, and has already found a place for Fletcher among them.
Following the Angels 6-4 win over the New York Yankees — one in which Fletcher was involved in five double plays — Maddon endorsed one of the MLB’s top contact hitters for a Gold Glove award, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“That was a virtuoso performance at second base,” Maddon said. “I’m here to tell you, that’s the Gold Glove winner right there. If you have any doubt, just watch the video.”
“We won because he played second base,” Maddon said. “That’s a fact.”
Fletcher is certainly making a case to be a Gold Glove winner this year, although there are plenty of talented second basemen. Among qualified players at the position, Fletcher is seventh in fielding percentage, third in putouts, third in assists, and sixth in double plays completed.
However, the advanced metrics are where he may lose his argument. He ranks 20th among second basemen in Statcast’s most popular fielding metric, outs above average.
It’s unclear exactly how voters weigh out these various statistics against the eye test to come up with the Gold Glove winners, but it’s undeniable that Fletcher should at least be in the conversation.
Regardless, Maddon will continue to conduct the Fletcher hype train, as the second baseman remains a manager’s dream in terms of a player who simply plays winning baseball.
Jack Mayfield making most of big league opportunities
While Fletcher plays nearly every day at second base, the other side of the Angels infield has seen plenty of change throughout the season. Jose Iglesias has been a consistent shortstop, but Jack Mayfield has started to get more opportunities at the position in addition to his time at third base.
Mayfield has absolutely made the most of these chances while Anthony Rendon recovers from a season-ending hip impingement, and it’s given the Angels something to think about as they head into planning mode for next season.