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Fantasy Baseball: Angels have another intriguing bat to consider adding

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Back when the fantasy baseball season started, we thought the Angels were going to be all about their stars, the names you know. Shohei Ohtani hitter, Shohei Ohtani pitcher, Anthony Rendon, Jared Walsh, and that Mike Trout fellow.

And then Taylor Ward crashed the party. We’ve spilled some ink on him.

And now Brandon Marsh wants in on the fun.

My first challenge when writing about Brandon Marsh is not to call him Brandon Marshall (the former NFL receiver) or Brandon Walsh (a California kid from a different era). But Marsh is quickly making a name for himself in the Angels lineup, and trying to force his way into an everyday job.

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We learned something else over the last four days — when in doubt, take Angels over Guardians. Los Angeles completed a four-game sweep with a 4-1 victory Thursday, with Reid Detmers getting the better of Cal Quantrill. This being a 2022 baseball game, the Angels used four relievers in back of Detmers. Raisel Iglesias closed up, recording save No. 5.

Marsh started the final three games of the series, and he moved up to the No. 2 slot Thursday. He collected two singles and a double, knocked in a run, and stole his third base of the year. Marsh’s slash line improved to a juicy .340/.411/.532.

Brandon Marsh has quickly become an intriguing fantasy baseball asset. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Brandon Marsh has quickly become an intriguing fantasy baseball asset. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

Marsh starts about 70 percent of the time for the Angels, but perhaps that could change soon. Jo Adell is off to a slow start (.246/.259/.456), although he does have three homers. Marsh has two homers himself, in about the same amount of playing time. Of course if a different teammate got hurt, maybe there’d be room for both of these guys.

Although Marsh and Adell are both early in their careers — Marsh, 24, is about 16 months older — we can’t discuss them without considering their pedigrees. Adell slotted anywhere between second and sixth overall on the three main prospect clipboards two years back. Marsh cracked the Top 100 in his farmhand days, but he wasn’t quite in Adell’s class. His consensus rank a year ago was a respectable (if not buzzy) No. 45.

If Adell is going to keep a firm grip on regular playing time, he needs to learn the strike zone. He’s walked just once, against 21 strikeouts. Meanwhile, Marsh has five walks against a reasonable 12 strikeouts. And Marsh’s Statcast page is full of validation — a .301 expected batting average, a .513 expected slugging. He’s in the 88th percentile when it comes to hard-hit rate. This kid is making his own luck.

I don’t have any insider angles with Angels manager Joe Maddon, who seems to get a little wackier with every season. But Maddon can’t ignore the start Walsh is off to, and neither can fantasy managers. Marsh is currently rostered in 47 percent of Yahoo leagues — he’s been actively added in deeper pools, but there’s still some room on the bus, if you don’t mind auditing the Los Angeles lineup every night.

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