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OC Register: Angels’ Brandon Marsh looking forward to getting back in the field

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TEMPE, Ariz. — Brandon Marsh has heard all about his rising prospect status and how he could reach the majors this season.

But the Angels’ No. 1 prospect doesn’t want to think about any of that.

“I try to keep it off my mind because when you hear stuff like that you tell yourself to get complacent,” Marsh said Saturday. “I don’t want that at all. I’m a long ways from where I want to be, and where I need to be for this club. It’s going to be a grind, a fun process. But I’m looking forward to it.”

Marsh, 23, was the Angels’ second-round pick in 2016. The speedy, left-handed hitting outfielder saw his stock skyrocket with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League in 2019.

Although he hasn’t played a real game since – thanks to the pandemic shutting down the 2020 minor-league season – he’s nonetheless risen on the lists. Most the publications rank him as the Angels’ best prospect. (Only Baseball America still considers Jo Adell No. 1 because, by their standard, he is still a rookie.)

Marsh is ranked No. 38 in all of baseball by Baseball America, No. 53 by MLB Pipeline and No. 44 by Baseball Prospectus.

Manager Joe Maddon has liked what he’s seen so far in two springs with Marsh.

“Watch him hit,” Maddon said. “I love the way he gets started. I like the swing a lot. I like the way he runs. I like his attitude. I like the way he pays attention. We just need to see him play.”

The Angels haven’t seen him play much over the past 12 months. Marsh strained his left elbow attempting a diving catch in the first game of the spring last year. He was out for about three weeks, in the lineup for his return when what would be the Angels’ final game before the shutdown was rained out.

Then he spent last summer playing at the Angels’ alternate training site in Long Beach, where he suffered a labrum injury that he tweaked just at the start of this year’s spring training. Because of the shoulder injury, he’s been unable to play defense in a game, so he’s just been the designated hitter.

Marsh said he’ll be ready to play in the field in a week.

“It’s very frustrating, to say the least,” Marsh said. “Nothing much I can do. Just got to roll with it. Make the most of it. I’m not going to sit here and be negative about it. I’m going to be positive and look forward to next Saturday.”

The injury may have slowed Marsh’s development, but he was not likely to make an impact in the majors until later this season anyway. He still has never played Triple-A.

He won’t do so for at least a month into the season this year, with Triple-A players all working out at alternate sites, like last season, until the normal schedule begins in May.

Marsh said it was a challenge at times to get properly motivated for intrasquad games in an empty ballpark last summer. He’s eager to see another team.

“I think it adds a whole other level of intensity, because now those dudes are trying to take food off your plate,” Marsh said. “It’s not just a friendly competition any more. It’s organization vs. organization. It’s not going against your buddy that you room with.”


Jose Rojas continues to bounce around the field in spring training and show that his main position is in the batter’s box.

Rojas has never been considered one of the Angels’ top prospects, but he’s hit well enough to become a favorite of fans … and now of Maddon.

Maddon compared him to Daniel Murphy and Mike Moustakas, who have both been somewhat out of position in the field because their bats needed to be in the lineup.

“People may scoff at those comps, but I think they are very realistic,” Maddon said. “We’ll see how it plays out for him. He’s very motivated, very directed, very serious minded when it comes to his craft. We like everything about him.”

So far Rojas has played first, second, third and left field. He’s had four hits, including two homers, in 10 at-bats going into a start Saturday. He’s one of only three players on the team to hit multiple homers this spring.

Rojas, 28, is a native of Anaheim and a product of Vanguard University of Southern California in Costa Mesa. He’s has a career average of .292 with an .852 OPS in the minors.

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