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ASU Baseball: Alec Marsh makes debut, Sun Devils up to 116 MLB players

Former Sun Devil Alec Marsh made MLB debut for Royals Friday

Los Angeles Dodgers v Kansas City Royals Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

On Friday afternoon, the Kansas City Royals sent former Sun Devil Alec Marsh to the mound to make his major league debut in Kauffman Stadium against the Los Angeles Dodgers. This marks Arizona State’s 116th Major League Baseball player in program history.

Marsh played three years at ASU from 2017 to 2019, owning a 4.13 career ERA with a 12-7 record in 43 career appearances. Marsh progressed steadily each year in Tempe, with a junior season that included a 9-4 record with a 3.46 ERA and over 100 innings pitched.

In his dominant junior year, Marsh was named to the All-Pac 12 first team. He was also placed on the Collegiate Baseball Hall of Fame’s Watch List for National Pitcher of the Year.

Arizona State v Washington
RHP Alec Marsh’s phenomenal junior year catapulted him into MLB Draft boards.
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Marsh joined former Sun Devil big leaguer Mike Leake (2009) to have back to back starts striking out more than 10 batters, a record that stood for 10 years. Marsh’s junior campaign was capped off in a complete game performance to beat the third ranked Oregon State Beavers on April 12, 2019.

Marsh would forgo his fourth year at Arizona State after being selected in the Competitive Balance B round of the Major League Baseball Draft in 2019.

Competitive Balance draft picks, as implemented in the 2012-16 MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement, are granted to teams that are either the 10 lowest-revenue teams or teams in the 10 smallest markets in baseball. Competitive Balance A picks are chosen between the first and second rounds while B picks are chosen after the third and fourth rounds of the Rule 4 MLB draft.

With the 70th overall selection, the Royals took the right-hander, then assigned him to the Pioneer League to play for the Idaho Falls Chukars. In 2020, March played in the Constellation Energy League, an independent league formed during the cancellation of the 2020 Minor League Baseball season, for the Eastern Reyes del Tigre. After a non-roster invite to the Royal’s spring training in 2021, Marsh was placed in Double-A Northwest Arkansas where he pitched for two years. In 2023, Marsh split time between Double-A and Triple-A before his debut on July 30, 2023.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Kansas City Royals
Royal’s Alec Marsh made his Major League Baseball debut on June 30, 2023 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

Marsh’s debut was a memorable one, as just five pitches into the game Marsh gave up a home run to 7x All-Star and 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts. According to Baseball Almanac, Marsh was the 81st pitcher in MLB history to allow a home run in their first batter faced.

Marsh’s first career strikeout would come two batters later when an 0-2 changeup faded away from the left handed bat of Dodger’s Max Muncy.

Marsh’s final stat line in his major league debut read: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 5 K on the loss.

Marsh is the Royals No. 14 prospect and will continue to see big league time as the Royals continue to struggle. With a fastball ranging 95-96 and a plus breaking ball, his role could slide to the bullpen later in the season for the Royals.

With Marsh’s call up, ASU’s long tradition of producing Major League talent continues to remain. In the first round alone, Arizona State stands second all-time in first round draft picks with 24. No school has more No. 1 overall selections than ASU with four, the most recent being Spencer Torkelson in 2020.