Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Dr B's 2014 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #9 Ty Blach

Ty Blach, LHP.  6'1", 200 lbs.  DOB:  10/20/1990

High A:  12-4, 2.90, 130.1 IP, 18 BB, 117 K, GO/AO= 1.17

There was some head scratching when the Giants named Ty Blach out of Creighton University as their 5'th round draft pick in 2012.  He had pitched well enough in college with a 2.69 ERA his junior season, but the secondary stats did not look like anything to write home about, 28 BB and 83 K in 120.1 IP.

Blach did not start his pro career until 2013 but the Giants assigned him aggressively to high A San Jose.  His performance there was an eye-opener for many observers including me as he dominated, particularly in his control of the strike zone.

According to Baggs' BA scouting report, he throws both a 4-seam and 2-seam fastball with plus command which sits 89-90 MPH and tops out at 94.  He can throw his slider at the back foot of RH batters and has a solid curve.  His changeup is his best offspeed offering.  I saw him pitch in the Cal League Championship series in San Bernardino.  In that game he sat at 91 MPH and topped out at 92.  He was able to keep 66'er hitters off balance by mixing his pitches and changing speeds.  He's got a bit of awkwardness and herky-jerkiness to his motion.

He should to to AA Richmond along with his 3 younger colleagues from the SJ rotation where he should do well in a pitching-friendly environment.  I see him as a possible Tom Glavine type of SP.  Of course, not every LHP who comps to Tom Glavine puts up Tom Glavine numbers in the majors, but hey, if Tom Glavine did it......  I think we'd all be happy if Blach turned into the next Woody Reuter, or a Noah Lowry who stays healthy!


  1. Nice. Not quite a tall pitcher at 6-1. But he's got the favorable ground ball rate, which is a step better than Escobar and maybe 2 steps better than Mejia. Reuter and Glavine both with GB% < 50 (GO/A0<1.0) which surprised me. I thought Woody was known for inducing grounders, especially with the DP in order.

    For these minor league pitchers, I think it's a little bit funny that fangraphs or BR doesn't report their ground ball / fly ball tendencies, but does.

    1. GO/AO and GB% come from entirely different sets of numbers. The first includes only outs from Balls in Play whereas the denominator in GB% is Plate Appearances(PA). There is a rough correlation between the two numbers but they are not at all the same thing. Glavine's career GO/AO, at least from when they started keeping track, was 1.28 and Maddux' was 1.77. Since the denominator for GB% is PA's, a pitcher can have a GB% well under 50 and still get the majority of their batted ball outs from groundballs.

    2. Of course of course of course. Thanks for the reminder ! Woody at 1.16 GO/AO. I'll try to be consistent here.

    3. I too am surprised Woody's wasn't higher. It seemed like he lived by flopping the ball off the outside corner, getting RH hitters to ground it to 2B or SS. Looking back, he also probably got a lot of flyball outs out in Triples Alley.

    4. I've heard talk here and maybe elsewhere that MLB umpires have effectively removed strikes that pitchers like Glavine and Reuter were able to get. Some sort of conspiracy to keep the bat in the hitters hands longer and to ideally net more runs. This would portend dim prospects for future crafty lefties.

      BTW, do you know what kind of R^2 that rough correlation above has? Seems like one should be a pretty good predictor of the other.

    5. The true strike zone is narrower and has more vertical height than what umps were calling in Glavine/Reuter's heyday and yes, I believe those guys lived outside the strike zone horizontally. The enforced strike zone started to change in the early 2000's with new instructions from MLB to the umps. It has gotten more stringent with PitchFx. I believe the regulation strike zone favors power pitchers who are comfortable throwing high fastballs over the finesse guys who like to try to expand the strike zone horizontally.

  2. Lemme see how my 2nd guess guys are doing... Jake Lamb (d-backs 6th round) is hitting 303/424/558 with 13 HR 48BB/70K in 283 PAs in the California League. Cameron Perkins (phils 6th round) is hitting 295/346/444 in High-A Florida State League with 6 HR 25BB/57K in 424 PAs. Both lads play 3B.

    Did Giants fans stuff the ballots in voting Blach the Minor League Pitcher of the Year? Lone Giants on the all-star team for the CA league (a pretty big surprise given their success and depth of real prospects). Perhaps most impressive though was winning the ERA title. ERA doesn't get the love these days, but its still a pretty decent stat. A 2.90 ERA in the CA league is earned baby, earned!