Fletcher Finds Footing With Royals

Son of Rockies instructor has loud full-season debut





KANSAS CITY—On a back field at the Royals complex, Scott Fletcher was intently watching an instructional league practice. The Rockies' roving infield instructor, who played 15 years in the majors, was not on a scouting mission for Colorado, but rather watching his son Brian Fletcher go deep several times in batting practice.

"He's bigger than me, hits for much more power than me and he plays a very good outfield," the elder Fletcher said. "When he was really little, swinging a Wiffle bat, I'd go, 'Wow, he's going to be all right.'

"He's wowed me a lot of times over the years and I'm not easy to wow."

Brian Fletcher was a 39th-round pick of the Astros in 2007 out of high school in Fayetteville, Ga., but did not sign. "He wanted to go to college and it was better for him," Scott said. "He grew a lot there."

Fletcher went to Auburn, where he hit .357 with 22 home runs as a junior and was named first-team all-Southeastern Conference in 2010. While he had nearly as many strikeouts (196) as hits (209), his 49 home runs tied Frank Thomas for third place on the Auburn's all-time list.

Because of signability issues, Fletcher was not picked until the 18th round by the Royals in 2010, signing for $275,000. "He gave teams a price," Scott said. "He was drafted in the 18th round, but didn't get 18th-round money."

Fletcher hit .328/.386/.560 with low Class A Kane County in his full-season debut last year. He had 14 home runs and 60 RBIs in 341 at-bats, along with 80 strikeouts and 24 walks.

While Fletcher, 23, primarily played left field for the Cougars and outfield at Auburn, the Royals had him at first base for some instructional league games.

"It's just to give him some flexibility as he moves forward," Royals farm director Scott Sharp said. "He's done very well at first base. . . He's a pretty good athlete and he's getting the footwork."

ROYALTIES

• The Royals signed lefthander Tommy Hottovy to a minor league contract. Hottovy, who made his big league debut in 2011 with eight relief appearances with the Red Sox, is a Kansas City native whom the Red Sox drafted out of Wichita State in the third round in 2004.

• The Royals signed minor league free agent infielder Tony Abreu, who spent 2011 with the Diamondbacks' Triple-A Reno affiliate. He has hit .251/.279/.354 in 367 big league at-bats with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.