The Los Angeles Angels lost starting shortstop David Fletcher to the 10-day injured list with a left-hip strain during their second season of the season.
While Fletcher isn’t known for his offensive prowess, he is one of the top defensive players in the sport, so the injury had potential to be a big loss for the club. However, his replacement Andrew Velasquez has performed even better with the glove, posting an outs above average that ranks in the top 10% of defenders.
With how well Velasquez has performed defensively, Angels Manager Joe Maddon seems to want to keep that going once Fletcher returns, so he expects his former starting shortstop to play more second base, he said via J.P. Hoornstra of The O.C. Register:
“There’s a much greater chance (Fletcher) is going to play more second base than he did before,” Angels
manager Joe Maddon said. “If everybody is well when he comes back, it’s going to be good to move people in and out to make sure nobody gets overworked. It’s a great problem to have.
“If he’s on the field at the same time as Velazquez, you’ll see (Fletcher) at second base. If he isn’t, you’ll see him at shortstop.”
Fletcher began his rehab stint on Friday so he should return to the club soon, however the Angels have yet to put a set timeline on when that will be:
“We’re going to be patient with him,” he said. “It could be a couple days. It could be a week.”
Fletcher was hitting just .077/.077/.231 with a -24 wRC+ through five games before his injury. He is a career .279/.327/.363 hitter with an 88 wRC+.
The utility man has played 242 games at second base during his career compared to 98 at shortstop.
Angels utilizing their speed early in the season
The Angels are among the top tier MLB rankings in home runs, RBI, total bases and on-base plus slugging, which was mostly expected, but they are also among the top teams at stealing bases, and that is exemplified by Tyler Wade.
Wade won’t light up the box score with his power numbers as he only has six homers in over 450 at-bats, but he felt underutilized during his tenure with the New York Yankees because he takes a ton of pride in his ability to wreak havoc on the base paths.
After stealing 21 bags and posting a career-high on-base percentage last season with the Yankees, he explained that his skill set isn’t the flashiest, but can be valuable when used correctly.
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