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OC Register: Angels rookie Brandon Marsh feeling more comfortable as season winds down

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SEATTLE — Joe Maddon often talks about his five “levels” of life as a professional baseball player, from just trying to crack the big leagues at the beginning to becoming so established that nothing matters except winning.

One of the big jumps is to “level three,” which Maddon explains as the time when a player is no longer worried about staying in the big leagues, but is confident he belongs.

That’s where Maddon sees Brandon Marsh.

“He’s met all the expectations for me,” Maddon said. “I like what I’m seeing a lot … You’re seeing plus plus defense and speed. At the plate, I know you’re noticing the ball off the bat, how hard he hit the baseball to all fields. That’s going to just keep getting better.”

Marsh agreed he’s come a long way since he made his major-league debut July 18. He started with a few good games before falling into a 2-for-34 slump, which he described as “brutal.” He pulled out of that and had a hot streak late in August, followed by a more consistent September.

Heading into the final two games of the season, Marsh was hitting .260 with a .684 OPS. His average exit velocity is 91.2 mph, which is second on the team to Shohei Ohtani (92.8 mph).

“Definitely a lot more comfortable (now),” Marsh said Saturday. “There’s a lot more stuff that need to be done, a lot more to go, but definitely the comfort levels went up a little bit from the beginning, for sure.”

Marsh said it took him some time to adjust to the speed of the game at the major-league level, including pitchers who throw consistently harder and hit their spots more regularly.

He also said advice of veterans like Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Dexter Fowler helped him iron out the mental parts of the game.

Marsh said he’d like to improve his plate discipline over the winter, as well as his performance against left-handed pitchers. He struck out 90 times and walked just 19, and he had a .560 OPS against lefties.


Manager Joe Maddon and general manager Perry Minasian have been meeting with players throughout this trip to discuss the organization’s feelings on their performance in 2021 and expectations for 2022.

“It’s brutally frank, brutally honest,” Maddon said. “Both ways I mean. Either it’s complimentary or what they need to hear on, I guess, the negative side of things. There is no gray area. By the time anybody leaves that room, there is no gray. I’ll tell you that. It’s black and white. You get it. It’s beautiful. It’s absolutely beautiful.”


Juan Lagares, who hurt his back colliding with the fence in the seventh inning Friday night, was not in the lineup Saturday, but Maddon said Lagares felt better and could be available later in the game, to hit or play defense. …

The Angels will need to make a roster move to activate Reid Detmers to start in the season finale Sunday. …

Mike Mayers is finishing the season on a high note, with nine straight scoreless innings and a 2.20 ERA over his last 20 games. For the season, he’s cut his ERA to 3.80. Maddon said the difference from earlier in the year is that he’s throwing his slider more and his cutter less. The cutter was a weapon that made him particularly effective against lefties last year. Although he hasn’t been as good against lefties this season, Maddon said he believes his new repertoire is more sustainable.


Angels (LHP Reid Detmers, 1-3, 7.11 3.12 ERA) at Mariners (RHP Chris Flexen, 14-6, 3.67), 12:10 p.m. Sunday, Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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