At 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, Montrell Marshall’s size plays a big role in his success on the field, but it also kept the Dayton Dragons first baseman off the field for a while.
Marshall missed his entire senior season in high school after suffering a fractured vertebrae in his back caused by a growth spurt.
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Projected as a fifth to sixth round draft pick, the Reds ended up drafting Marshall in the 12th round in 2014, but the injury kept him sidelined his first pro season, too, and he’s been playing catch up ever since.
“Every year has been getting better for me,” Marshall said after Sunday’s 12-4 win over Great Lakes. “Stats are improving and filling out as a baseball player, learning and understanding the game a lot more. I feel like I’m on track and everything is going good.”
Despite his size, Marshall was a shortstop in high school who started his pro career at third base. The move to the opposite corner of the infield has been seamless so far.
“Playing shortstop prepares you for playing any position on the field,” he said. “I didn’t think it was a tough transition going from the left side to the right side.”
While the defensive transition has been smooth, Marshall has struggled at the plate with a batting average right around .200 through the first part of the season.
“It’s a feel thing,” Marshall said. “I started out swinging pretty well and then I had a few bad games and then sometimes I hit it well but it got caught. Right now I’m feeling pretty good and I’m not concerned with the numbers this early in the season.”
Marshall’s roots in the Reds organization run deep. Brandon Phillips is his first cousin and Marshall said he’s always getting advice from the former Gold Glove infielder.
“I don’t think I would be doing what I’m doing now if it wasn’t for him,” he said. “He has helped my throughout my younger years and continues to help me today.”
Marshall helped get the Dragons going Sunday against Great Lakes when he lined sharply off the shortstop’s glove in the second inning, reaching on the error.
John Sansone followed with an infield single and then Marc Kolozsvary brought both runners home with a double to right field.
One out later Jose Garcia brought Kolozsvary home with a single to center field for a 3-0 Dragons lead.
The home team broke the game open with five more runs in the third inning. Stuart Fairchild and Leandro Santana both clubbed two-run home runs and Kolozsvary added another RBI double for an 8-0 lead.
The Dragons made it three straight wins the blowout win. That’s the most runs Dayton has scored in a game in 2018 and the 19 hits is a season high too. Everybody in the Dragons lineup had at least one hit and Kolozsvary, Santana, and Fairchild drove in three runs each.