Phillies will rely on Brandon Marsh to continue his development

Brandon Marsh #16 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Brandon Marsh #16 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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Brandon Marsh’s continued development is crucial for the 2023 Phillies.

After the Philadelphia Phillies decided to trade Matt Vierling as part of a five-player swap with the Detroit Tigers this past weekend, Brandon Marsh’s development became more important than ever.

Last season, Marsh frequently sat in favor of the right-handed hitting Vierling opposite left-handed pitching. This notably occurred in the postseason against Max Fried and Blake Snell. Now that Vierling is gone, Marsh will see more at-bats against left-handers. President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski has said that the Phillies do not view Marsh as a platoon player.

When the Phillies acquired Marsh from the Los Angeles Angels last season, they solidified their centerfield defense — an area that had long been a question mark. His bat eventually showed up and came up large as well. Marsh had struggled at the plate in his first season and a half in Los Angeles. In 292 at-bats with the American League club last season, he slashed .226/.284/.353 and struck out 117 times. His 80 OPS+ sat well below the league average.

The former top Angels prospect began to see the ball better at the plate when he arrived in Philadelphia, however. During the final few months of the regular season, Marsh slashed .288/.319/.455 with a 116 OPS+ and 41 strikeouts in 132 at-bats.

Marsh’s offensive improvement since donning red pinstripes has given the club reason to trust his continued development. An area that the Phillies will look to help the young centerfielder improve is his hitting against left-handed pitching. In 2022 he hit just .188 against lefties, while he had a .262 batting average against right-handers.

Marsh is just 25 years old and under team control through 2027. There is still room for improvement, but the fact that the Phillies and hitting coach Kevin Long could tap into some of Marsh’s offensive potential is a good sign. The team will rely on him to continue to play solid defense and be an impactful bat at the bottom of their potent lineup.

If Marsh can cut back on strikeouts and get on base, he will be a significant contributor.

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