Marsh busts out of slump in big way

Angels No. 2 prospect homers on three-hit night to end skid

Brandon Marsh sports a .248 average and a .721 OPS over 70 games in the California League. (Jerry Espinoza/MiLB.com)

By Josh Horton / MiLB.com | August 9, 2018 1:06 AM

That's the way to bust out of a slump, Brandon Marsh

The Angels No. 2 prospect went 3-for-5 with a home run, a double and two RBIs for Class A Advanced Inland Empire on Wednesday, but the 66ers fell to Lancaster in 10 innings, 8-7, at The Hangar. Marsh entered the game on an 0-for-15 skid and hitting .160 in August. 


Gameday box score


"He's been working really hard in the cage and he's been trying to get back to feeling good and more confident," 66ers hitting coach Brian Betancourth said. "For the most part, he's been trusting what he's been doing in the cage and it showed today." 

The 20-year-old outfielder struck out to lead off the game before slugging a solo homer -- his fifth of the season -- to right-center field in the third inning off JetHawks left-hander Ty Culbreth. Marsh whiffed in the fifth, but finished the night strong by poking a base hit to center in the seventh and drilling a go-ahead double to right in the 10th. 

"After I started the night with a strikeout, I had a better mind-set about it," Marsh said. "Not trying to do too much, worrying about the next at-bat, just trying to move on really helped me."

Bret Boswell pummeled a two-run homer, his second roundtripper of the game, in the bottom of the frame to walk off for Lancaster. 

Marsh, a second-round pick in 2016, is hitting .248 with a .721 OPS for the 66ers this season after being promoted from Class A Burlington, where he compiled a slash line of .295/.390/.470 in 34 games. He broke onto the scene by hitting .350/.396/.548 in 2017 with Rookie-level Orem after being sidelined for all of 2016 with a stress fracture in his lower back. 

The left-handed hitter has tried not to dwell on his recent struggles too much, but acknowledged it can be difficult to put those aside, especially while playing in the hitter-friendly California League. 

"I've been putting a lot of stress on myself as of late. But just trying to move on and forget was the main goal for tonight. And it worked," Marsh said. "It goes through every hitter's, pitcher's head when you don't perform to the standards you're asked to. It's a little frustrating, but nights like these help you recover from all that." 

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The native of Buford, Georgia, is regarded as a solid hitter with the speed and agility to comfortably fit in center field with a plus-arm that will also function well in right, according to MLB Pipeline. 

"Oh, ho, that's a true gift that he has," Betancourth said. "Just to see him every night is special -- running down balls and making big plays, diving catches and stuff like that. When he's out there, he takes control and he wants the ball at all times, so there's no fear in there." 

There's still room for Marsh to fill out his 6-foot-4 frame and develop more power as he matures, something he aspires to do further into his career. 

"I'm just going to let it happen over time," he said. "I'm not going to force myself or mold myself into something that I'm not right now. I know I have what it takes to be that middle-of-the-lineup power guy. It's just that right now is not that time for me. I'm just working on the bat path just to try and get there." 

Boswell plated five runs while Alan Trejo and Vince Fernandez also went deep to lead the JetHawks offense. 

David MacKinnon drove in three runs for the 66ers. 

Josh Horton is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @joshhorton22 This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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