David Fletcher takes next step in Braves transformation by embarrassing MLB's top prospect

The Gwinnett Stripers announced David Fletcher as their starting pitcher last night and it went better than expected.

Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves
Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

Some interesting news coming out of Braves Country as the Gwinnett Stripers announced they were going to start David Fletcher as a pitcher on Wednesday night. Yes, starting pitcher David Fletcher. Yes, the same David Fletcher who played second base for a short period with the Atlanta Braves earlier this season. The same guy who is currently involved in the Shohei Ohtani drama.

David Fletcher, known knuckleballer, starts for Braves Triple-A affiliate and embarrasses MLB's top prospect

It was a fun clip to see Fletcher throwing a knuckleball in an outing in what most presumed to be just a position player pitching moment. Then Fletcher came out of the bullpen. He was even removed from the starting lineup because he was going to be used out of the bullpen. Now, he will start a game for the Triple-A club.

As of May 29th, Fletcher had nine innings of work on the mound, He had given up six runs on seven hits, six walks, and four strikeouts. The original starting pitcher Wednesday night was listed as Taylor Widener but the Stripers social media account made the change in starting pitchers official. David Fletcher made his first career start against the Norfolk Tides.

I am not really sure what to make of it. Fletcher is attempting some side quests in his baseball career. He appears to be taking the role of Charlie Culberson in the Braves organization. Fletcher is owed $6 million this year and $6.5 million next year, along with some additional money in buyouts. So, it could make sense for the Braves to see if there is any additional value elsewhere with Fletcher's game.

Fletcher did surprisingly well as he completed five innings allowing two runs on three hits. He walked one batter while striking out five. His knuckleball kept batters off balance the entire outing and he even made baseball's top prospect, Jackson Holliday, look silly with a strikeout.

Holliday loaded up on his swing but whiffed so hard that his helmet almost fell off. Definitely not something fans thought they'd see from David Fletcher in 2024. Especially not against a team like Norfolk which features an extremely powerful offense.

Another bizarre thing to consider about Fletcher since moving over to pitching for the Stripers is that he has thrown the most pitches at 67 mph or lower this season. This includes MLB and Triple-A games. He was already featured on the list before Wednesday evening with 45 pitches thrown at 67 mph or lower but he increased that to 60 pitches against the Tides.

While the overall numbers for his pitching have not been great in a small sample, he has shown some positive outings in his short work as a pitcher. This most recent start shows whatever he's doing is working right now but it's unlikely this is sustainable through a full season. His ERA now sits at 6.55 through 11 innings with seven walks and 10 strikeouts.

We will see how this experiment goes. Maybe Fletcher can figure something out and become a versatile weapon in the Atlanta organization.

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