Chatham Native Ketchum Marsh’s Love For Baseball Goes Full Circle As Major League Scout

by Brad Joyal

If you want to be a baseball scout, you have to listen to your gut and trust your intuition. That was one of the first lessons Chatham native Ketchum Marsh learned from his mentor John Barr, the assistant general manager and vice president for the San Francisco Giants.

“There’s something to be said about trusting your gut and intuition,” said Marsh, who has worked as an area scout for the Milwaukee Brewers since October 2022. “[Barr] has always been like a father figure to me and he told me that when I was first getting into the industry.”

The seeds for Marsh’s career were planted when he was a 17-year-old senior at IMG Academy, a preparatory boarding school in Bradenton, Fla. that specializes in supporting and developing student athletes.

“When I was a senior in high school, we were tasked with writing an assignment that was ‘How to be a blank,’” Marsh said. “We had to fill in the blank and write what we were going to be and how we were going to get there. The essay I wrote was how to be a scout. So, I guess it was meant to be.”

After graduating from Whittier College in 2016, Marsh turned his attention to playing and coaching baseball overseas. He played and coached in eight different countries between 2016 and 2019, traveling and living in Europe, Argentina, South Africa and Australia.

He appreciated the opportunity to learn about the different countries he called home while working to help build a passion for America’s favorite pastime abroad.

“It was a wonderful experience for getting to understand the socioeconomic differences between other countries and the U.S. — what their values are, their priorities and cultural differences and whatnot,” Marsh said. “Playing baseball is obviously prioritized in the U.S. In other countries it’s not, but they are trying to make it bigger and better. To be involved with that is fun.”

Marsh returned to the U.S. after accepting a minor league and international operations internship with the Tampa Bay Rays in January 2020. He then worked for the Cincinnati Reds as a baseball operations trainee for the first 10 months of 2022 before ultimately landing with the Brewers as an area scout.

Now a Tampa resident, Marsh covers the west coast of Florida and his primary responsibility is finding and evaluating high school, college and junior college players from Naples to Pensacola. His responsibilities also include studying minor league players to help the Brewers become familiar with the talent other Major League teams have in their pipeline.

“I’m responsible for the Detroit Tigers, so I need to know about all of their prospects in case there is a future trade scenario,” Marsh said. “I spend time with a lot of their minor league teams and scout their players.”

Although Florida is Marsh’s primary scouting area, his job has also brought him home to Chatham and the familiar confines of Veterans Field, where his love for baseball blossomed while he served as a bat boy for the Chatham A’s and his family hosted players.

“Playing ball in Little League and on rec teams was great and bat-boying for the Chatham A’s — those were some special memories,” Marsh said. “I was there last summer for almost two weeks and I’ll be back again this summer for almost two weeks as well. It’s great being home. It’s been a fun full circle from being an eight-year-old bat boy for Chatham to being in the bleachers and getting to know the guys.”

While Marsh recognizes landing a front office job may be an exciting and lucrative career change down the road, he is thrilled to be involved in the world of scouting. Even though his job can be grueling as he balances filing reports and driving from field to field, Marsh enjoys being connected to the sport while traveling to new places in an effort to find talent.

“That’s fun for me — I enjoy that nomad lifestyle,” Marsh said. “It’s a cool opportunity and a dream job for a lot of people. It’s a lot of hours on the computer writing reports and being on the road driving, but it beats a cubicle and it beats a nine-to-five. It’s a special job.”