LA Angels: When will No.1 prospect Brandon Marsh make his MLB debut?

Los Angeles Angels

Brandon Marsh, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The Angels outfield has featured the league’s best player for the last decade, Mike Trout. It won’t be long before he’s paired with some exciting young talent coming through the Halos pipeline, as one of those players was recently named among MLB’s top-10 outfield prospects: Brandon Marsh.

The 23-year-old was drafted out of Buford High School in the second round of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft. There’s an urge and excitement from Angels fans to see the team’s No.1 overall prospect at the big-league level, but manager Joe Maddon and the organization has emphasized the importance of his development.

There’s plenty of raw talent to work with, as Marsh has flashed all five tools of becoming a star outfielder in the Major League. Some predict Marsh to take over defensively in center field, moving Trout to one of the corner spots to lessen the burden as he ages.

During spring training, Marsh dealt with a nagging shoulder injury which forced him to a limited role as the team’s designated hitter. In 17 plate appearances, Marsh slashed a .286/.412/.571 with zero home runs, zero doubles, two triples, and one RBI. Marsh also walked twice and struck out eight times.

That sample size is simply too small to put a label on Marsh’s potential. The pandemic-shortened season in 2020 limited his repetitions to the Angels alternate site, and he has not played at a level higher than Double-A in his career.

Brandon Marsh Minor League Statistics:

  • 2017 (Rk, 39 games): 192 PA (.350/.396/.548) 4 HR 44 RBI
  • 2018 (A/A+, 127 games): 579 PA (.266/.359/.408) 10 HR 70 RBI
  • 2019 (Rk/AA 101 games): 432 PA (.287/.468/.408) 7 HR 45 RBI
    • (AZ Fall 19 games): 75 PA (.328/.387/.522) 2 HR 11 RBI

Seeing what happened when former top prospect Jo Adell was rushed to the big leagues, don’t expect the Angels to make the same mistake with Marsh.

I think it’s possible Marsh makes his MLB debut this season, but it depends on how well he performs at triple-A and how desperate the Angels are for a spark in their outfield.

Should the Angels injuries be a reason to call up No.1 prospect Brandon Marsh?

It could happen sooner than most anticipated with the amount of injuries that have begun piling up on the 26-man roster.

Right fielder Dexter Fowler is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL, and left fielder Justin Upton has been scratched each of the last two games with back stiffness. To make matters worse, reserve outfielder Juan Lagares was also placed on the 10-Day IL with a calf injury.

The Angels called up veteran Jon Jay from their alternate site, but his history shows they’ll need more production from their outfielders not named Mike Trout. Scott Schebler and Taylor Ward are other options at the minor-league level who may be considered given they each have MLB experience.

The other options who could give a spark to the big-league club would be Adell and Marsh, but I don’t think the Angels consider themselves in a desperate need to change course for their continued developments.

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The minor-league season will not begin until May, so if the Angels stick with their plan it could be a while before Marsh heads to Anaheim.