Trejyn Fletcher Can't Wait To Get To Work
The chance to draft one of the top prospects for the 2020 draft a year earlier than expected meant mobilizing as many scouts as possible to go somewhere several of them had never been before: Maine.
Those who made the trip to see outfielder Tre Fletcher at Portland's Deering High came away with notes similar to two evaluators who saw him.
“Super toolsy. Super raw.”
When Fletcher reclassified to be eligible for the 2019 draft, the Cardinals hustled and had scouts like Jim Negrych and Sean Moran present for more than half of Fletcher’s few high schools games.
That started with an opener his team lost 20-4 and ended with Fletcher’s dynamic performance in the season finale in which he struck out nine on the mound and at the plate homered and scored the winning run.
Several interested teams felt they could not see Fletcher enough to be comfortable with the bonus it would take to woo him from a Vanderbilt commitment. The Cardinals jumped the line, drafting him in the second round and signing him for $1.5 million.
The Cardinals’ development plan for Fletcher, who turns 20 early in 2021, was to accelerate his feel and instincts by immersing him in baseball. But without a minor league season, the Cardinals brought Fletcher to their alternate training site to try to realize that plan, which was heavy on instruction.
“He’s someone who if you said he was going to line up at defensive back or go play guard in basketball or soccer—pick a sport—you’d believe it, and he’d have success,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“But he’d be so raw doing any of it. The experience isn’t there. The reps aren’t there. (But) the talent is.”
So is the commitment.
One of those scouts to make the trek to see Fletcher was Cardinals scouting director Randy Flores. After drafting and signing Fletcher, Flores received a text message from the teenager, who was essentially skipping a grade: “I can’t wait to get to work.”
— Eager to add depth to the middle infield at the upper levels, the Cardinals signed Jose Rondon to a minor league deal and will let the 26-year-old contend for a utility role. Rondon is two years removed from a .249/.290/.495 line at Triple-A and hitting 24 homers, including six in the majors, for the White Sox.
— The Cardinals passed on the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft, but with fewer strings attached in the minor league phase they snagged lefthander Garrett Williams from the Angels’ Double-A roster. They intend to push the 26-year-old as a reliever. They are intrigued by his curveball after scouting him in the 2018 Arizona Fall League and think he can build his approach around it in shorter assignments.