I’m going to be really honest with you, I hadn’t spent more than about 2 minutes learning about Alec Marsh before KC drafted him last night. He popped up on my radar earlier this spring, and then I quickly moved him off of it. Here’s everything I knew about Marsh going into last night: low-90’s fastball, good mix of pitches. That’s about it.
The more I dive into Marsh, the more I actually like this pick. I mentioned on the Royals Review podcast last night that the drafting of Alec Marsh reminds me a bit of when the Royals drafted Daniel Lynch last June. The two pitchers are not very much alike, but their stories are. Marsh was a fringy draft prospect at best heading into 2019, but a little increased velocity and a great spring in a good baseball conference have risen his draft stock considerably from February.
Marsh obviously has not been as good as Lynch, as noted by his draft position nearly double that of Lynch, but I think the Royals could be following a similar draft strategy here. Grab a college arm who has gotten progressively better during his junior season and hope he continues to grow in your system. Marsh’s fastball currently sits in the low-90’s, but I think there’s reasonable enough room for projection in his arm that he could be a 93-95 guy some day.
Getting into Marsh as a pitcher at present, here was his stat line from Arizona State this spring: 96.2 IP, 3.17 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, .241 BAA, 92 K, 33 BB, 10 HR.
Nothing crazy, but the walks are much improved from a sophomore season in which he walked 31 batters in 71.2 IP. On video, Marsh’s best pitch appears to be his curveball. It’s a nasty 11-5 (on a clock) offering that often freezes right and left-handed hitters alike. The fastball appears to be an inconsistent offering at times. I’d argue that Marsh tends to get a little too mechanical/robotic in his delivery, and could benefit from some fluidity in his motion.
Marsh also appears to be a pretty good athlete on the mound as well:
I tweeted last night that I thought Marsh could be a really good reliever in the future, and I’m afraid that may have been taken the wrong way. I think Marsh will be a starter through the minor leagues. I only meant that because I think Marsh’s floor could be a really good reliever. Here’s part of why…
In 2018, Marsh went up to the Cape Cod League and only made five appearances (two starts), throwing just 11.1 innings. In those 11 innings, Marsh allowed just two earned runs and struck out *20* batters…in the best college summer league in the country. His stuff appears to play up when he doesn’t have to worry about throwing 90+ pitches.
I don’t necessarily love the pick for KC, but I’m not against it either. The Royals have had some success drafting college pitchers recently and I’m all for them going right back to the well. If Marsh doesn’t work out as a starter long-term (which I think he actually can, reminds me a bit of Junis if he doesn’t add any velocity), the Royals could have a pretty good reliever on their hands.
Photo Credits: Arizona State Baseball Website