Halo Hangout stopped by the home stadium of LA Angels Minor League squad, the Class A Advanced Inland Empire 66ers, to meet with Brandon Marsh, the highly touted 2nd round pick from 2016. Brandon Marsh has been flying through the Angels system on the way to his current stop in Class A Advanced.
One of the LA Angels top prospects, Marsh stands at 6’4, 210 lbs and carries not only a swing as powerful as his stature but a mental strength that continually empowers his developmental as a future Major Leaguer. Speaking with the talented, young athlete shows us a deeper insight into the grace and grit of being a professional ballplayer.
Baseball is a six tool sport. Everyone will tell you it’s a five tool game; Speed, Arm Strength, Fielding Ability, Hitting for Average, and Hitting for Power. That’s what you want to look for when you’re evaluating an athlete, the presence (or lack of) those tools will tell you everything you need to know about that specific player.
Yet you’re still missing out on the most important tool of all, the elusive 6th tool; The Psychology of the athlete as a person. The mind is the most unquantifiable, immeasurable tool of all; everyone’s is different, yet at some level you can see the similarities between the mental states of the games superior athletes. Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Verlander; all decorated athletes with future HoF inductions waiting for them at the end of the tunnel. All vastly different players, but at the end of the day the one constant isn’t the tool sets of said athletes, but the mental fortitude.
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Looking past the 5 tool system and absorbing yourself in the evaluation of that 6th tool opens up a whole new world of understanding the deeper machinations of the player. It’s as Yogi Berra once famously remarked, “Baseball is 90 percent mental, the other half is physical”.
Nothing beats a player with a strong head on his shoulders and the drive to foster a continually evolving mental capacity. The psychology of a player can often tell you more about their ability than their actual tool-set, and when you have a player who not only develops the 5-tools, but nurtures the 6th, you’re in line for something special at hand.
The LA Angels have that special player in tow with Brandon Marsh; currently the 4th rated Angels prospect per MLB.com (5th per Baseball America). Marsh currently patrols the outfield for the Angels Class A Advanced affiliate, the Inland Empire 66ers, as a Right Fielder. Only two years removed from his own draft day, Brandon Marsh is playing in his second season within the Angels organization. With such highly touted expectations for the young athlete, Marsh knows that the lasting keys to success is keeping the world off of your shoulders, your head in the game, and trust in yourself.
Brandon Marsh, #20
H.H: You’ve been with the 66ers for almost a month now, and in the last week you’ve been hitting over .400; are you beginning to settle into your comfort zone?
Marsh: A little bit; just getting used to the atmosphere, new teammates, new coaching staff, new opponents. It was tough at first but I just had to compete to get where we’re at and it’s been fun.
H.H: What adjustments have you made as a hitter since your 1st game as a 66er?
Marsh: I’ve learned to trust myself a lot more rather than coming here from Low A Burlington and trying to do more than what I need to do. That’s when things get out of hand and you put yourself in bad positions to hit. Just trust yourself, we’re all here for a reason. Just trust what you got and go from there.
H.H: You displayed serious power in 2017 with 22 Extra Base Hits and a .548 slugging percentage. What are you working to mature that power this season?
Marsh: Just continuing to trust the process. Every year we’ll all get stronger, we become more matured at the plate. Swinging at better pitches is the ultimate result; if you chase you’re not going to hit the ball as hard, it’s not gonna go as far. Gotta find better pitches to hit and go from there.
2018 Slash Line (Low A Burlington): .295/.390/.470
H.H: Being the Angels 4th ranked prospect, what kind of developmental expectations do you have for yourself?
Marsh: I really don’t have any expectations. We try not to look at stuff like that, just go out and give it all we have, no regrets. Everyone has the same opportunity to be on the team in the same organization. It’s about whoever steps up, we try not to look at numbers and all that.
H.H: What kind of defensive adjustments are you finding yourself making as you rise through the minor league levels?
Marsh: My first step. My first step’s been a big key for me, in Spring Training I worked on that a lot. Say a balls hit in the gap and it lands right under your glove; you were lazy at the start, you’re not thinking it’s going as far as it is. If you have that first step quickness you’re more than likely to get to those balls in the outfield.
It all comes down to just trusting yourself. Knowing the warning track, knowing how deep that park is and having a feel of where you are in the park; Left-center, Right-center, Center, Right Field, or Left Field. It really helps having that mental picture in your head of having that first step.
2017 RBI’s: 44 RBI’s in 39 Games
H.H: The 66ers have been going head to head with Lake Elsinore for a 1st place spot all season. How does that drive you as a player?
Marsh: Well, competition is what drives us all in my opinion. Nobody likes getting blown out; games are fun when you’re up 12-2, but every player loves a tie ball game. It shows everyone’s true colors and really brings out the best in people, the competition. We enjoy it.
H.H: With the 2018 MLB Draft underway you’re now 2 years removed from your own draft day. How are you feeling with your development since that point?
Marsh: I feel like, personally, I came a long way with where I started to the player I am now, on and off the field. Learning how to mature with failure, how to deal with it and then continuing to stay successful. It’s been tough to do that when you keep going up, the competition gets a lot harder. The main thing is learning how to deal with failure.
Brandon Marsh, #20
One of the greatest aspect a true competitor can have with their game is the ability to compete in the face of failure and rise above. The struggles Brandon Marsh faces in his journey to the MLB pales in comparison to his drive, ability, and success he’s already uncovered. Only two years removed from his own draft day and we’ve seen the high level of play this young athlete is very capable of; a big RBI player with serious power potential, especially his in-the-park power. His ability to drive in runs is a central part of his game, and with 6 RB
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I’s in his last 5 games we’re seeing Marsh continuing to road to becoming his complete self.
It isn’t an easy gig, being a professional baseball player. But when you have the guts, the confidence, the ability and trust in yourself as the Angels young prospect Brandon Marsh does, it makes it easy to see how high his limits truly go.
To the sky and beyond. Like a true Angel.
Let’s see how he continues to develop.