The first 20 games of Brandon Marsh’s big league career with the Los Angeles Angels saw him undergo some serious growing pains. While his defense and speed allowed him to stay on the field, his production at the plate was staggeringly low.
He slashed .143/.229/.206 in that first stretch, striking out 26 times over 70 plate appearances. Then, something clicked for him shortly after. Since August 8 — a 1-for-2 game with two walks against the L.A. Dodgers — Marsh has put together a spectacular 16-game stretch.
Over the 16 games, he’s slashing .377/.441/.509. His strikeout numbers are still high, but he’s coupling it with getting on base routinely. Of his 59 plate appearances during this span, 51 have been either a strike out or reaching base safely via hits or walks.
Marsh has also noticed a drastic mental improvement, saying that the struggles from his first 20 games had really started to weigh on him, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“Mentally things are going a little bit better the past couple weeks,” Marsh said after the game. “Just keeping a positive mindset. At first, I think I got down a little bit, if I’m being honest. But you know that’s a part of it. It’s a game of failure, and I did my share of failing.”
Joe Maddon explained what he felt was improving in Marsh’s game over the past few weeks and why he believes it’s a sustainable development.
“I’ve just seen an overall better approach,” Maddon said before the game. “I think I’ve seen better decision-making because he is a good decision-maker. And I think that’s the one thing that maybe as he came up in the minor leagues got a little bit off track, but I think he’s getting back on track. So I do believe you’re going to continue to see that.”
One of Marsh’s highly-touted skills coming out of the Minors was his ability to understand the strike zone. Obviously, the staggering strikeout numbers haven’t fully proven this yet, but there have been flashes of incredible awareness.
Given that the Angels are already out of this year’s playoff hunt, flashes of positive development is exactly what the team wants out of Marsh. If he can work out the kinks in his plate approach now, he should be ready to be a full-time contributor next season when health returns to the Angels side.
Jo Adell impressing Angels brass
Marsh is not the only former top prospect overcoming a slump to be a productive big-leaguer this season. Jo Adell was simply not ready in 2020, and has come into 2021 looking like a different player.
The batting average isn’t quite there yet, but like Marsh, he has shown the Angels his ability to adapt. Adell’s defense and plate discipline have been his most improved attributes since 2020.