David Fletcher’s performance for the Los Angeles Angels this season can best be described as uneven. His first 37 games were difficult, as he batted .250 with a .546 OPS before injuring his hip and ultimately being demoted to the No. 9 spot in the lineup.
When he returned from the hip injury a few days later, he caught fire. Over the next 59 games, Fletcher put together a 26-game hitting streak, returned to the leadoff spot, and batted .354 with an .851 OPS. In his last 51 games, he’s cooled off once again, batting .195 with a .468 OPS.
In total, his 2021 season was his worst at the plate. He had career-lows in every major batting category and most advanced statistics as well. However, he couldn’t provide much of an explanation for this beyond the inconsistencies that come with playing baseball, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“Every season is going to have ups and downs,” Fletcher said on Wednesday. “Probably more ups and downs for me this year, but I haven’t really changed much throughout the year.”
Despite the numbers, Fletcher said that “lately I feel pretty good, just grinding out the rest of the season.”
Angels manager Joe Maddon did not have too much of a problem with the offensive inefficiency, saying that his defense has more than made up for things.
“I don’t just look at the game as it comes to just hitting only, especially when you’ve got a guy like that that could save you runs and make plays,” Maddon said. “And he’s still gonna come up with a lot of big hits for us. So I don’t see it the same way. I know the numbers aren’t what they’re supposed to be, but this guy’s winning baseball player.”
Maddon also suggested that bad luck may have played a factor in his end-of-season slump. Maddon has also endorsed Fletcher to win a Gold Glove award this season on multiple occasions.
All this to say that Maddon and Fletcher are clearly not worried about whatever issues he faced at the plate this season. 2021 served as the first of a five-year contract that Fletcher signed on Opening Day.
Maddon expresses frustration at Angels playoff drought
Prior to the Angels’ sixth straight loss on Wednesday, Maddon did not hold anything back when discussing the disappointment of missing the playoffs for the seventh consecutive year.
He also hinted at a potential free agent strategy for the team heading into the winter and the 2022 season.