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David Fletcher strikes out top prospect Jackson Holiday

He is trying his best to imitate Shohei Ohtani.

Former Angels infielder David Fletcher, who was a teammate of the two-way Japanese superstar for six seasons, made his first minor league start as a pitcher on Tuesday and his fifth career start.

And the results were good.

Fletcher, pitching for the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate, the Gwinnett Stripers, allowed three hits, two runs and one walk in five innings while striking out six in a 5-2 win over Norfolk.


Dale Zanin – USA TODAY Sports

The 29-year-old Fletcher showed off a “dancing” knuckleball that reached 62-63 mph. By minor league reporter Jared Timms.

The knuckleball also spooked 2022 MLB No. 1 overall pick Jaxson Holiday, who struck out in the bottom of the third inning.

Fletcher threw 72 pitches that night, 60 of which were knuckleballs.

According to Baseball Savant, the floater drew 30 swings, with 11 of them whiffs.

This season, Fletcher told teams he could throw the knuckleball and was given the opportunity to do so. According to Braves reporter David O’Brien of The Athletic.

It was Fletcher’s first start. He made four relief appearances. Before Wednesday’s game, he had a 9.00 ERA in six innings.

Fletcher’s performance on the mound has translated into him being a capable hitter, batting .248/.323/.277 with 18 RBI and five stolen bases in 37 minor league games.

He also appeared in five games for the Braves in major league baseball this season, getting two hits.

Over his seven MLB seasons, he has played second base, third base and shortstop and has a .276 batting average, .323 on-base percentage and .358 slugging percentage.

According to a report from ESPN, the seven-year MLB veteran’s new adventure began after it was revealed he had been placing bets with the same allegedly illegal bookmaker used by Ohtani’s former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara.


Atlanta Braves player David Fletcher (number 22) hits a sacrifice fly during the second inning of a game against the Miami Marlins at Truist Park on April 23, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Atlanta Braves player David Fletcher (number 22) hits a sacrifice fly during the second inning of a game against the Miami Marlins at Truist Park on April 23, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images

Fletcher, along with former Royals minor league shortstop Colby Schultz, are allegedly communicating through Matthew Bowyer, who is under federal investigation for allegedly running an illegal gambling ring.

Fletcher reportedly did not bet on baseball, Under investigation by MLB ESPN reported that he was involved in gambling activities.

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