Sitting at number 27 on Baseball America‘s top 31 prospect list for the Kansas City Royals heading into the 2012 season was Brian Fletcher. The outfielder turned first baseman (during his promotion to High-A Wilmington to start the season) was the Blue Rocks best hitter in the first half. He hit .289 with 15 doubles.
While hitting in the middle of the Blue Rocks order, he hit just five homeruns in the pitcher-friendly league. He also only drove in 25 runs in 67 games. It didn’t help that the Blue Rocks had one of the worst offenses in the Carolina League in the first half.
Upon his promotion to Double-A, Fletcher exclusively played the left field. He also struggled offensively. He hit .256 and struck out 96 times in just 65 games. He did however hit ten homeruns.
Fletcher had a very good July with NW Arkansas: he hit .293 with seven homeruns and 16 RBIs. The alarming thing was his strikeout to walk totals: 42 Ks to just four walks. That continued into August, but he only hit .224. He did end the season with hits in seven of his last eight games.
Fletcher is heading to Surprise for the prestigious Arizona Fall League that begins next week. Some wonder if the Royals will begin tinkering with his unconventional approach at the plate (since it didn’t work well against advanced Double-A pitchers). I expect he will return to the Naturals to begin the 2013 season. I’m not sure what position he will play, but both spots are blocked at both the big league and Triple-A levels.