Brandon Marsh on his new swing, run of success since Angels traded him to Phillies (2024)

HOUSTON — When the Phillies first traded for Brandon Marsh from the Angels, one key statistic stood out above everything else to his new hitting coach.

Kevin Long saw Marsh’s swing. A lot of moving parts. It made sense that he led all of baseball in strikeout rate, at 36.2 percent. But, no, that wasn’t the number that popped out to Long.


“He was always late. He was never on time,” Long said. “So I looked up what he did against fastballs. He hadn’t pulled a right-handed fastball all year. It just didn’t make sense to me. Like, this guy hadn’t pulled a right-handed fastball?”

That may very well be an indictment against the Angels for not making corrective measures to Marsh’s then-problematic swing. Whoever was at fault, it ended with Marsh becoming tradeable. And the Phillies got him by swapping catching prospect Logan O’Hoppe in a one-for-one deal at the deadline.

The move has been great for Marsh. Although he was popular with fans and his teammates in Anaheim, his celebrity has exploded with the Phillies, who are now in the World Series against the Astros.

He left the Angels with bad offensive numbers on a bad team. Now, he’s the starting center fielder on the Phillies and having quite a moment. He’s a folk hero of sorts for a massive NLDS homer. That and his unkempt, hairy look.

Most important, Marsh appears to have improved with a simplified swing. His OPS with the Angels was .637. That improved to .773 in 41 games with the Phillies. His hard-hit rate went up 5.3 percentage points. His line-drive rate went up 10.3 points. His pull rate went from 26 percent to 35.2 percent. His strikeouts were down 6.5 percentage points.

“I like where stuff’s trending for me personally,” Marsh said. “I know it’s a game of a lot of ups and downs. But just finding a solid base. Knowing what routine I’m going to do, it’s been a lot of fun.”

His swing has been the difference. He appears to have eliminated an extra toe tap, which has allowed him to time up pitches more regularly.

“I just tried to simplify it all,” Marsh said. “Take a lot of the distractions, a lot of the excess stuff out of it. And really just putting the bat on the ball. Taking a lot of the moving parts out of there. I like the change.”


Marsh did struggle in the NLCS. He went 0-for-13 with seven strikeouts. But Marsh and Long alluded to potential injuries playing a factor in those numbers. The Phillies might not even be playing anymore if not for Marsh.

He blasted a three-run homer in Game 4 of the NLDS to get the scoring started in that 8-3 series-clinching win at home. It’s a moment that will live on forever in Philadelphia, even more so if this team can clinch a World Series title.


— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 15, 2022

“Not a lot of much has sunk in, to be honest, just being over here,” Marsh said. “It’s been going super, super fast. So after the year, I’ll kind of sit back, talk with some people, reflect on the good or bad times throughout the whole year.”

Marsh was once the Angels’ top prospect. He was called up in July 2021 and performed fairly well. His defense was elite — so good that he’s actually an Angels Gold Glove finalist this year, despite finishing the season with a different team.

It was an interesting decision for the Angels to trade away Marsh. They got an elite catcher prospect in O’Hoppe, who made his debut in Anaheim late this season. It’s a trade that has win-win potential.

But Marsh acknowledged that he was surprised to be dealt. Two of the Angels’ hitting coaches are no longer with the club. The team announced that hitting coach Jeremy Reed and assistant hitting John Mallee would not be returning. It’s hard to say if the Angels traded away a player who had a lot of potential they just weren’t able to harness.

Regardless, Marsh found his way to a staff that put tangible changes to work. It is a small sample. But there’s reason to believe the success can become sustainable.

“I devised a game plan on what I was going to do with his swing,” Long said. “And the mechanics of his swing. I always start by getting guys closer to the hitting position than further away. So we spread him out. We got him into his legs.


“It worked.”

Marsh said that after every postseason series, he has gone and found one of his teammates just to share in a moment. Kind of like the Paul Rudd viral meme where he says, “Hey, look at us. Who would have thought? Not me.”

The teammate is Noah Syndergaard, the only person he’s played with the whole season, the starting pitcher who played with the Angels before also being dealt at the deadline in a separate trade.

They’re a part of this incredibly fun run. A whirlwind year of ups and downs ending in the place that probably seemed impossible only a few short months ago.

“He’s a top-five favorite person that I’ve ever encountered,” Syndergaard said of Marsh. “Just an awesome human being. I think the sky’s the limit for him. He’s so young and so raw. I think he’s really going to blossom into something special. He’s got the best energy I’ve been around.”

(Photo: Bill Streicher / USA Today)

Brandon Marsh on his new swing, run of success since Angels traded him to Phillies (1)Brandon Marsh on his new swing, run of success since Angels traded him to Phillies (2)

Sam Blum is a staff writer for The Athletic covering the Los Angeles Angels and Major League Baseball. Before joining The Athletic, he was a sports reporter for the Dallas Morning News. Previously, he covered Auburn for and the University of Virginia for The Daily Progress in Charlottesville.

Brandon Marsh on his new swing, run of success since Angels traded him to Phillies (2024)
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