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The Young and The Phiery: Centerfield

Phillies Acquire Brandon Marsh. What happens with Vierling?

Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels
Newly Acquired Phillies CF Brandon Marsh
Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

Whirlwind Deadline

Well, the 2022 MLB Trade Deadline was akin to a brick wall sprouting out of the ground and hitting baseball fans everywhere in the face. Most notably, the historic Juan Soto/Josh Bell Trade to the San Diego Padres. The Phillies traded for Edmundo Sosa (STL), Brandon Marsh (LAA), David Robertson (CHC), and Noah Syndergaard (LAA). In doing so, they sacrificed little to acquire pieces that A. made the team better, and B. Dombrowski filled holes the Phillies had at CF, RP, SP, and defense.

The main piece discussed in this article is newly acquired outfielder Brandon Marsh. The Phillies obtained from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for top-catching prospect Logan O'Hoppe.

A Little Bit of Background

Brandon Chase Marsh is a 24-year-old out of Buford, GA, drafted in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the LA Angels. Across the minors, Marsh hit well and was a highly touted outfield prospect for the Angels and Major League Baseball.

In 2020, Marsh ranked as the Angels' #1 Prospect in the organization and #73 in MLB Top 100 Prospects. He made his MLB debut in July 2021, where he played 70 games in the 2021 season. His stats are par for the course for an up-and-coming outfielder needing consistent play to adjust to the majors.

2021 Stat Line: .254 BA, .317 OBP, .356 SLG, .673 OPS, with 2 HR and 19 RBIs. 70 GP

2022 Stat Line: .226 BA, .284 OBP, .353 SLG, .637 OPS, with 8 HR and 37 RBIs. 93 GP

On the Angels, it was difficult for Marsh to get everyday playing time when Mike Trout is your starting CF, Jo Adell in LF, and Taylor Ward in RF. All three outfield positions blocked Marsh from everyday play, especially when he was not hitting as well as he could.

Starting Chance in the City of Brotherly Love

Dave Dombrowski traded for Brandon Marsh and believes that the Phillies "hitting people' can tweak his approach at the plate to fulfill his potential as a highly-touted prospect. In his press conference regarding the trade deadline acquisitions, he believes Marsh is the everyday centerfielder for the Phightins in the future.

If Dombrowski and the Phillies believe they can correct some of his hitting mechanics to make him a multidimensional player rather than just an elite defender, then go for it. Judging from his statistics in the minors, Marsh has had hitting success in the past. Hopefully, the Phillies coaching staff will have the same turnaround success with Brandon Marsh that they did with Alec Bohm.

What the Phils already had

Before obtaining Marsh, the Phillies utilized Odubel Herrera, Matt Vierling, and occasionally Mickey Moniak for the CF position. Currently, Odubel Herrera was DFA'd, and the Phillies packaged Moniak and Jadiel Sanchez for Syndergaard. These moves leave just Matt Vierling manning center field.

In the fifth round, the Phillies drafted Matt Vierling of the 2018 MLB Draft. Vierling made his MLB Debut in 2021, playing only 34 games.

2021 Batting: .324 BA, .364 OBP, .479 SLG, .843 OPS with 2 HR and 6 RBIs. (34 GP)

2022 Batting: .235 BA, .300 OBP, .329 SLG, .629 OPS with 3 HR and 14 RBIs. (64 GP)

Vierling's power numbers are not as good as Marsh's, but he gets on base much more than he does. Also, the St. Louis native has a harder hit ball percentage than Marsh showing his potential as a hitter. Matt Vierling has not made an error in any of the positions the Phils play him, except 3B. So if all else fails this season, there is a clear safety net for the Phils to fall back on for CF.

Confirmed Choice in CF

The Phillies' usage of Vierling all over the field suggests that he will be their in-house utility player for any injury occasions. In Marsh's case, Vierling will probably get the start on his off days. Dombrowski and the organization announced they plan to play Marsh daily at CF. Finally, the Phillies (might have) solved their issue at CF. The Phillies have not had a reliable centerfielder since Shane Victorino.

No one will forget Vierling's homer off of Hader, who won the Milwaukee game.

In the end, the Phillies got Marsh, and hopefully, they can fix his swing to become a sustainable outfielder for the future. Only time will tell, but I hope these moves get the Phillies to Playoff baseball.

Last Weeks Question: Great to hear from the commenters about their thoughts on Bryson Stotts's play in recent weeks.

This Week's Discussion: Is Brandon Marsh the answer at CF? If not, Who is?