LA Angels Top 25 Prospects: #3 Brandon Marsh

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 22: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hits a three-run home run in the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 22, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 22: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hits a three-run home run in the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 22, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

The LA Angels selected Brandon Marsh in the second round of the 2016 draft and looked to have gotten him at a steal. Marsh, a natural outfielder whom also played wide reciever in high school, came from a renowned athletic program at Buford High in Georgia. His natural athleticism and outstanding makeup gives him one of the highest ceilings of any player in the Angels system. 

What is it with the LA Angels love for former wide receivers manning the outfield? Brandon Marsh was yet another two-sport star in high school which saw him playing wide receiver quite well. It’s all about that natural athleticism and makeup for the Angels, especially when correlating the wide receiver position to the outfielder. The most important skills necessary to excel in each position is the ability to track a quick moving ball with an eagle eye, run quick and efficient routes, explosiveness, and even the fearlessness in taking a hit. There’s nothing better than an outfielder who isn’t afraid to take a ball all the way to the wall, and while that doesn’t exactly add up to the intensity of a football hit it still takes guts.

Those are the qualities Brandon Marsh displays in spades as an outfielder. His physical makeup and natural athleticism allow him the tools to play incredible outfield defense. He has more than proper arm strength and can be relied on to bring the ball home and  gun a few guys down in the process (9 OF assists in 2018). It cannot be stressed how amped up Brandon Marsh is on tools and he has shown that he can very well harness those strong, natural tools within.

Brandon Marsh did have a rocky start to his career with the Angels due to a couple injury spells. He missed his summer debut after his 2016 draft selection with a stress fracture in his back. 2017 saw him miss some time with a thumb injury, though he did play in 39 games that season to a total 192 Plate Appearances while putting together an encouraging .350/.396/.548 slash line with 4 HR’s and 44 RBI’s. Included in those power numbers were 13 doubles. Marsh did go on to play a full season in 2018, and with his natural physical tools I don’t see injury plaguing him throughout his career.

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What fascinates about that 2017 power production was his healthy RBI total in relation to the 4 HR’s. Brandon Marsh has very strong hitting tools with above-average pop in his bat and he makes great use of that power by bringing in the runs. His run producing ability saw him pull together a healthy amount of RBI’s on decent power production given his low Plate Apperance total in 2017. Things got even better in 2018 as he knocked around 10 HR’s to a total 70 RBIs, which shows a much clearer picture regarding his power potential and run production ability.

He nabbed 27 doubles in that 2018 season while also scoring 85 runs, showing both speed and aggressiveness on the base paths. This also lets you know that Brandon Marsh is the kind of athlete that puts himself into scoring position all the time, if not with his bat then with his legs. He had 14 stolen bases on the 2018 season and 4 caught stealing, which lives up to his strong speed tools and awareness/IQ.

Now here’s the thing about Marsh, there is still much development to be had. He struggled heavily at the plate throughout many of his 426 Plate Apperances in Class A Advanced. His plate approach faltered dearly as he would become overwhelmed at the plate and quickly lose himself. With 118 K’s during his time with the Class A Inland Empire 66ers (158 K’s total in 2018) you could see that he would let himself get outmatched at the plate. That’s was the biggest problem, Marsh would allow himself to be beaten and it was mostly an issue of mentality. You would also see misplays in the outfield that seemed to stem from the same place.

From May 19th (Marsh’s first game in Class A Advanced) until June 1st Marsh hit .234/.355/.352 while striking out 48 times (with 22 BB’s), signifying his struggles getting his bat consistently on the ball, and even when doing so struggling to drive it hard. While I don’t want to make direct inferences, a lot of the time (especially when dealing with a player as physically tooled up as Marsh) this is because of a lack of confidence in the batters box which causes a hesitation in the swing. Things turned around from that point on with Marsh hitting .270/.357/.407 with 5 HR’s, 12 doubles, and 2 triples through the end of the second half. The power production still wasn’t quite where it should be for Marsh, but it was very much on the way there in the second half of that season.

Even through his struggles with in the box and inconsistent confidence Marsh maintained his abilities to produce runs (70 RBI’s, 86 Runs) and get on base (73 BB’s .359 OBP). The one thing I always say is the biggest tool in baseball is the mental prowess of an athlete, and while Marsh has incredible IQ and awareness there is room for his confidence to grow into something truly supreme. Given his young age of 20 and fresh exposure to the world of baseball it’s not a big deal that confidence is something that needs growth, but once Marsh is able to fully blossom mentally there is something truly scary here waiting in the wings. I’ve seen scouts give comparisons to Charlie Blackmon, and it’s a pretty accurate take. The only thing Marsh needs is time and confidence and he will give the Angels another valid superstar of their own.

Next. Jahmai Jones is rising quickly in the Angels' system

Developmental Needs: Plate Approach, Confidence

Best Tools: Run Producing Ability, Run Scoring Ability, Developing Power, Speed, Base-running, Defensive Ability, Arm Strength, Leadership by Example

MLB ETA: 2020-2021