Dominic Fletcher is a 22-year-old outfielder prospect who the Diamondbacks selected in the Competitive Balance B round (75th overall selection) out of the University of Arkansas and younger brother of Angels infielder David Fletcher. Fletcher was a 3-year starter in center field there and was part of two teams that made the College World Series (2018 and 2019). After a strong junior year in which he batted .317/.386/.537 with 24 doubles and 11 home runs, he signed with the Diamondbacks for $700k and was immediately assigned to Full A Kane County due to the organization having top prospect Kristian Robinson as the main centerfielder in Short A Hillsboro. Fletcher ended up splitting time mostly between CF and RF, starting 25 and 22 games at the two positions respectively and put together a .318/.389/.463 slash (147 wRC+) in 239 PA with solid strikeout (20.9%) and walk (9.2%) to cap off a strong year overall.
Fletcher is currently ranked 21st on my Top 30 List of prospects for the 2020 season and projects to be fast-tracked to the majors (ETA 2022) as a high-usage 4th outfielder and a potential ceiling as a average regular at a corner. He’s likely headed for A-Advanced Visalia as with many higher-end college picks in their first full year with the organization and could finish the year with AA Jackson and potentially a Fall League appearance. His bat is mostly doubles power with the occasional long ball and a willingness to use the whole field in his approach. Defensively he has average foot speed, but compensates by getting good jumps on the ball and has a solid arm that can play in right field. My current comp for him is current Diamondbacks outfielder Kole Calhoun given similar body types and skill sets as a prospect.
How much of an impact his older brother (Angels utility infielder David Fletcher) has had in his baseball journey to date?
“A lot, even this offseason just working out with him. Hitting with him every day, just stuff like that, little things where I’m struggling I can talk to him and get a little bit of help is huge for me.”
Any advice he’s given about going through the minor leagues
“No, not really. We’ve talked about it a little bit but you know I think it’s more of a mental grind than anything. If you are mentally strong then I think you’ll be able to grind through it and work your way up. I think we talked about just being the same person, never being too high or too low, just going out there and being consistent every day.”
On looking forward to spending Spring in the same state as David
“Yeah, we’re going to be staying together and that’ll be nice. When we’re all done for the day we can eat and hang out, do whatever.”
How much has playing elite programs in the conference (Florida and Vanderbilt) and making runs at the College World Series the previous two years prepared him for the professional game?
“It was huge, just having that experience playing in front of 10-12k people every night. Facing the top competition in college baseball and playing at the highest level, facing all those guys was awesome and just helped that transition into pro ball go so much smoother than if I played somewhere else. Competition-wise, it’s a lot closer to what pro ball is like so that helped me a lot. Having that environment out there is just unbelievable to play in.”
Playing all three outfield positions for Kane County and the importance of being able to play multiple positions in the outfield
“There’s a lot of spots in the big leagues that are taken up on these different teams. If you’re playing on the same team as Mike Trout, you’re probably not going to be playing center field. So I think it’s important to be able to play any position and find a way to help your team win.”
Pre-game routine and preparation, especially considering days where he’s starting or not
“I think I treat it the same whether I’m starting or not, just getting my body ready to go just in case I’m going to play that day. I don’t have any rituals per se, just getting my mind and body ready to play starting when I show up that day.”
The challenge of facing left-handed pitchers and LOOGYs as a left-handed hitter in big situations
“I think there’s ways that you can help yourself against left-handed pitchers and I try to implement that in my game*. Keeping that front shoulder tucked in longer and staying on the ball longer, using the other side of the field (40.6% oppo in 2019). What makes lefties tough is the ability to throw the slider down and away and the fastball in to really keep you guessing and tough to pick up out of their hand when they’re throwing from a three-quarter arm slot.”
*Fletcher hit .323/.432/.355 with 12/5 K/BB in 36 PA vs. LHP for Kane County in 2019
“Potentially playing most of 2019 in his home state of California
“That’ll be cool, just a few hours away from home. Hopefully my family will be able to watch those games that are a little closer like Inland Empire. That’ll be nice, my parents will be able to get out there and see me play a few times.”
Playing against other prospects from rival organizations in the NL West
“I feel like every step you take, it gets a little tougher, each step is very important and it’s very important to your development playing against certain guys and figuring out what they do to you and what they’re trying to do on the mound because they may face you again a couple years later in the big leagues. It will benefit a lot learning as much as you can about each guy.”
*5 of the 8 California League teams are affiliated with NL West organizations
The increasing amount of shifts and over-shifts in baseball
“There’s a lot of shifts in the minor leagues, it’s pretty much the same as the Major Leagues. I think it was the 2nd game I got to pro ball and they were already shifting me and that’s an adjustment you have to make. I got shifted a little bit here and there in college but not very much. Once I got a couple at-bats in pro ball, they started shifting me and that’s when I really started to use the left side of the field to my advantage because if they’re going to leave a hole open over there I’m going to take advantage, get on base, and help my team win.”
Impressions of Arizona
“I didn’t have too many impressions, I haven’t been out to the stadium or seen them play much. I heard it was a really good organization to be in, obviously Arizona is a great state and I’m excited to be with them.”
“Not really, not too much. Just hanging out and getting ready for Spring Training. I play a lot of board games, some escape rooms, that’s about it.”