Under-the-radar prospect Fletcher opens eyes with D-backs

May 13th, 2023

PHOENIX -- Up-and-coming outfielders have been a big topic of discussion for the D-backs. First there was Daulton Varsho and then Alek Thomas, and of course Corbin Carroll and then Jake McCarthy.

They all received their share of attention over the past couple of seasons.

One who hasn’t been nearly as talked or written about, though, is , who is in the process of changing that with an impressive first two weeks in the big leagues.

Fletcher smacked a three-run homer -- his first since being promoted on April 30 -- and drove home four runs Friday in the D-backs' 7-5 win over the Giants at Chase Field.

“He's been great,” veteran first baseman Christian Walker said of Fletcher. “Quiet, hard worker, has a feel for the game, plays with a lot of energy and intensity. And he's a great player. He just keeps putting together competitive at-bats. Every pitch, even if it's a take, it's competitive. He's on it. He feels dangerous at the plate, and it's exciting.”

In 39 plate appearances since being called up from Triple-A Reno, Fletcher is hitting .457/.486/.629. 

With the D-backs down 3-0 on Friday, his homer in the second off Ross Stripling tied things up.

“I was looking for something over the middle and he hung a slider a little bit and I caught it out front,” Fletcher said.

The ball landed in the pool area just beyond the wall in right-center, and the fan who retrieved the ball gave it back to Fletcher. After the game, it was resting in a box in the back of his locker.

“Someone said it landed in the guacamole,” Fletcher joked. “We’ll have to see what it looks like.”

Fletcher, who is ranked as the 15th-best prospect in the Arizona system by MLB Pipeline, is the younger brother of Angels infielder David Fletcher. He was selected in the Competitive Balance Round B (75th overall) by the D-backs in the 2019 MLB Draft.

That was a pick the D-backs got as part of the return from the Cardinals in the trade that sent Paul Goldschmidt to St. Louis in December 2018.

“He’s been able to put together some terrific at-bats,” said D-backs bench coach Jeff Banister, who served as interim manager while Torey Lovullo attended his son’s college graduation. “Very calm in the batter’s box, has a really good plan. In my opinion, he doesn’t really get too overwhelmed with the situation. I think sometimes when you’re facing pitchers for the first time, you see young hitters that it can get a little sideways for them. He doesn’t seem to have that in him. He has the ability to hit both left-handers and right-handers. He looks very hitter-ish in the box, that old adage, and he puts together quality at-bats for us pretty much every night he’s in there.”

Because Fletcher's brother is a Major League player, he’s been around the game for a while, so that probably helped him feel comfortable so quickly in the Majors.

But another reason is that he has come up through the farm system playing with Carroll and Thomas, so being reunited with them at the big league level feels right to him. The trio were known as the “Three Musketeers” during their time together at the team’s Alternate Training Site in 2020.

“Seeing them again and getting to hang out with them again, it's been special for sure,” Fletcher said.

When he got called up, his brother David told him that the game was the same and that he just needed to keep doing what he has been doing his whole pro career.

“Having him as a tool has really helped me throughout my career,” Fletcher said. “Whenever I need something, he's there. We talk all the time, almost every day. And just having him going through every level before I did, and having experienced everything before I did really was a big help for me.”