Marsh, Hunter Jr. making up for lost time at Angels instructs

Marsh, Hunter Jr. making up for lost time at Angels instructs

While instructional league often serves as an opportunity for recent draftees and international signees to get acclimated to an organization and prepare for the offseason, it's also a chance for teams to get extra reps for players who may have missed time during the regular season.

Such is the case with the Angels, who are trying to get as many at-bats as they can for Brandon Marsh and Torii Hunter Jr.

"You can't really get them too many at-bats," Angels director of amateur scouting Matt Swanson said. "For them, what they really need is the repetition."

Marsh, the Angels No. 6 prospect, has performed well when he's been on the field, but staying on the field has been a bit of a problem early in his career.

The Angels selected Marsh in the second round of the 2016 Draft, but the beginning of his professional career was delayed when a physical revealed a stress fracture in his back.The club proceeded with caution, holding Marsh out of games.

After getting some experience in the Dominican instructs program, Marsh began the 2017 season with Rookie-level Orem, but sprained his thumb in just his seventh game.

The 19-year-old missed a month, but ultimately finished the season strong, slashing .350/.396/.548 with four homers and 44 RBIs in 39 games.

"For him, it's all about getting at-bats," Swanson said. "It's a big thing for him to build off the success that he had at Orem when everything was going [well] and continue that into instructs and take that momentum and use it in the winter to be right on track moving into next spring."

While Marsh is using instructs to make up for time lost due to injury, Hunter is looking to make up for the time he lost while playing football at Notre Dame.

Hunter is the son of Torii Hunter, who played 19 years in the Majors, including five with the Angels, but the younger Hunter has already established himself as his own prospect and not just a player who happens to have a really talented father.

"The name on the back of the jersey carries weight, but will only carry you so far," Swanson said. "It's hats off to the kid, not playing as much as he did in college to come out -- and really I think it speaks volumes about his makeup and athleticism and aptitude in general -- and succeed the way he did."

Hunter, a 23rd-round pick from the 2016 Draft, impressed in his professional debut, slashing .352/.432/.441 in 52 games with Orem.

"When I saw him, it was really eye-opening to see that," Swanson said. "To not hit for two-to-three years and pick it up like he did, for me, he's a definite prospect and it's been really fun to watch over the last six months.

"It might be one of those things where you look up a couple of years from now and we struck gold in the later rounds," Swanson said.

William Boor is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.