With injuries and pandemic delays behind him, Trejyn Fletcher is ready to rock.
Fletcher, who turns 21 at the end of April, expects a bounce-back 2022 season in the St. Louis Cardinals organization as he enters his third full season as a professional baseball player.
“When I get on the field, my play is going to speak for itself,” he said.
Although he verbally committed to Vanderbilt University out of Deering High School, Fletcher was picked by the St. Louis Cardinals in the second round of the 2019 Major League Baseball draft and reportedly accepted a $1.5 million signing bonus.
He began his professional career that summer in Jupiter, Florida. His strong play resulted in a promotion to the Cardinals’ rookie affiliate in the Appalachian League, where Fletcher flashed both his plus power and speed.
But years two and three as a pro followed with what Fletcher calls “a bunch of untimely events.”
There was no minor league baseball in 2020 due to the pandemic, although he did report to the Cardinals’ alternate site for workouts. Fletcher played just seven games in 2021 before a herniated disc in his lower back ended his season.
A couple of tough years, for sure, but Fletcher remains positive. After a few more weeks at the Cardinals’ spring training facility to ensure he’s healed from last season’s injury, he expects to move to a minor league affiliate.
During a 15-minute phone interview, the 6-foot-2-inch, 215-pound outfielder spoke in a relaxed, unflappable tone.
“I’m not necessarily worried about the time,” Fletcher said. “I have the utmost confidence in myself that I’m going to get to the big leagues. It is very mentally draining and frustrating being on the sidelines, but I’m going to continue to do what I’m doing and make sure to do what the Cardinals tell me to do.”
I’ve known of Fletcher since his arrival in Maine from Delaware in middle school, and I’ve never seen a Maine prep athlete quite like him. Searching through some old videos on my phone, I came across a clip of a 15-year-old Fletcher playing basketball – rocking a clean haircut with frosted tips – and throwing down a ferocious windmill dunk with ease. I remember watching him play football as a freshman at Cheverus High School in a playoff game against Lewiston. Three touches, three touchdowns. He also starred in track and field.
Fletcher, who attended Trinity-Pawling School in New York in between his years at Cheverus and Deering, is just one of those freak athletes who could succeed at any sport. This season, he’s hoping to play more than 100 games.
“I’m excited and eager to play a full season,” he said.
And Fletcher has enjoyed his time as a pro. He spends spring training soaking up knowledge from big-leaguers and building connections with teammates across the organization. He has developed Spanish speaking skills and can greet teammates with a simple “what’s up” in five languages. He also visits Maine each fall after the season.
Now, it’s on to 2022.
“Once I start putting up numbers,” he said, “I’ll be all right.”
Greg Levinsky is a Portland native and follower of local sports. He is an alumnus of Deering High School and Boston University whose work has appeared in The Boston Globe, Detroit Free Press, and several Maine newspapers. He can be reached at [email protected].