Thursday, February 6, 2014

Prospect Countdown: #22 Brian Fletcher

22. Brian Fletcher Designated Hitter

Age: 25
Height: 6'0" 
Weight: 190
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Drafted in the 18th round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft

Landon Adams (26): Fletcher, the career and season home run record holder for the Auburn Tigers, has quite the track record of slugging the baseball. In his first full season assignment, Fletcher ranked 3rd in the Midwest League in slugging and 6th in isolated power. This past season he ranked 3rd in the Texas League in slugging and 8th in isolated power. 

Throughout his Minor League career the former 18th round selection hasn't shown any problem at the dish. Unfortunately, Fletcher's warts as a prospect come with his age and limited defensive ability. The organization has tried him in left, but much like Butler years ago if you asked one of Fletcher's coaches what position Brian plays, they would answer "hitter." 

I've never jumped on the Brian Fletcher bandwagon like many others. He offers some intrigue because of his power, but ultimately I don't see him becoming anything more than a AAAA player. I hope I'm wrong, but I just don't see his upside as being anything more than a future bench bat. 

Paden Bennett (18): I'll be honest, I got on the Fletcher train last year when he was in Northwest Arkansas.  Yes he's 25, he's an old minor leaguer.  I get it. You don't like him.  Well I like power, and Fletcher caught my eye with his .314/.353/.541 slash line in NW Arkansas last season.  However, my excitement went down a little bit when Fletcher was promoted to Omaha and didn't continue to rake as I had hoped.  Fletcher hit .250/.287/.435 with 5 homers in 108 at bats.  

In reality, I don't know why I talked myself into liking Fletcher because he is a below average outfielder and will have to play 1B or DH and well, the Royals are pretty set there for the future.  With that being said, I really hope Fletcher figures it out in Omaha this season and maybe gets the call to be a power bat coming off the bench.

Joe Cox (NR): Brian Fletcher is a power hitting outfielder going into his age 25 season with the goal of figuring out AAA.  Fletcher is another player who had a season that was a tale of two levels, displaying an excellent bat in AA while displaying glaring holes during his stint in AAA.  He does not walk a ton and strikes out far too much but did manage to hit 17 homers in 336 PA’s in 2013. 

He split time between outfield and DH last year, and is not known as much of a fielder, with first base maybe being a better position for him from a defensive standpoint.  To me, Fletcher is a AAAA hitter with just enough power to remain interesting, but does not project as anything more than a bench player at best, but will continue to be a decent organizational depth piece for the Royals in 2014.

Dan Ware (19): Brian Fletcher makes the Royal Revival prospect list for the first time in his career, thanks to an impressive 2013 campaign between NW Arkansas and Omaha.  The recent addition to the Royals 40-man roster, Fletcher impressed many of the Springdale locals with his .314/.353/.541 line, 12 HR, 37 RBI, and 10 XBH.  That was enough to get him a promotion to Omaha, which wasn't good, but wasn't terrible.  

I expect Fletcher to be the full-time LF for the Storm Chasers come 2014.  As far as his future is concerned, Fletcher has good power, which gives him a slight opportunity to reach the Major Leagues, but will need to produce a little more offense.  Other than that, Fletcher has below average speed with average arm strength in the outfield.  He projects as an average first baseman.

Nicholas Ian Allen (--): Brian Fletcher is a solid Minor League hitter, with power. In 300 career games, the right-handed outfielder has hit .295/.349/.487 with 46 home runs. However, it is difficult to get excited about him as a prospect. Fletcher will be 25 in 2014, and has very limited position flexibility. 

Fletcher took a big step forward in 2013, though he got off to a slow start due to injury. After just five games in April, the Georgia native spent two months on the disabled list. Upon his return, Fletcher was one of the best hitters in the Texas League. After a sizzling July, in which he hit .347/.379/.622 with 6 home runs and 22 RBI, Fletcher was promoted. In Omaha, Fletcher cooled down a bit, but did hit safely in 19 of 26 games. He continued to show power, homering five times in his first 14 games with the Storm Chasers. 

The biggest bright spot for Fletcher is his ability to hit left-handed pitching. In his career, Fletcher has hit .327/.385/.588 with an excellent .261 Iso. He also comes from a good bloodline. He is the son of 15-year Major League veteran Scott Fletcher, who is now an assistant hitting coach with the Atlanta Braves. If he continues to hit well, Fletcher could see time in the big leagues, but projects as a platoon outfielder or bench player at best.

Total Points: 30

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