Sunday, October 2, 2016

Prospect Retrospective: Ty Blach

If you are a regular reader of When the Giants Come to Town, Ty Blach is no stranger to you, but after yesterday's sensational performance, I am sure there are a lot of people out there asking where he came from.  Well, here's the story:

Ty Blach was drafted by the Giants in Round 5 of the 2012 draft out of Creighton U where he posted a pitching line of 6-6, 2.69, 120.1 IP, 28 BB, 83 K, 2.09 BB/9, 6.21 K/9.  That is a typical profile of a polished college pitcher who often does well in the lower minors, but reaches his ceiling early and stalls out in the upper minors.

Blach did not get his first pro action until the following season, but the Giants gave him an aggressive placement in High A San Jose.  He dominated the Cal League with a line of 12-4, 2.90, 130.1 IP, 18 BB, 117 K, GO/AO= 1.17, 1.24 BB/9, 8.08 K/9.  The increase in K rate coupled with an extremely low BB rate seemed to point to a bright future.

I saw him pitch in the Cal League Championship series against Inland Empire on 9/12/2013.  His line in that game was 7.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, GO/AO= 12/5.  My own scouting report from that game said, "…..sturdy looking LHP who has an upright windup with a high 3/4 delivery. He kind of falls forward off the mound with an abrupt deceleration."  "…..a solid 3-pitch mix anchored by a 91 MPH FB."  "….lots of groundballs…."  Yep, that's pretty much what we saw yesterday at AT&T Park, right?

He moved up to AA Richmond in 2014 and saw a slippage of both his BB and K rate posting a line of 8-8, 3.13, 141.0 IP, 39 BB, 91 K, GO/AO= 1.07, 2.49 BB/9, 5.81 K/9.  The BB rate is still very good.  Just not as awesome as his Cal League numbers.  There are very few pitching prospect with K/9 under 6 that make it to the majors.

The Giants moved him up to AAA Sacramento for the 2015 season where his ERA predictably rose:  11-12, 4.46, 168.1 IP, 31 BB, 93 K, GO/AO= 1.46, 1.69 BB/9, 5.06 K/9.  Again, not the very low K rate.  The walk rate is again excellent and the groundball rate may translate to higher levels in the majors where he would to have to pitch in all those high altitude parks in the PCL.  Still, he was looking more like a AAAA pitcher than a major leaguer.

He had more success in 2016 back in Sacramento with a line of 14-7, 3.43, 162.2 IP, 38 BB, 113 K, GO/AO= 1.21, 2.10 BB/9, 6.25 K/9.  He really seemed to find another gear in the second half of the season with a line of 7-2, 2.02, 76 IP, 13 BB, 62 K's.  He gave up just 3 hits in 7 IP with 2 BB and 9 K's in his final AAA start of the season on 8/26/2016.

His future in MLB depends on his ability to maintain a FB at or above 90 MPH and to command it on both sides of the plate.  He has the ability to have a long career as an innings eating #4 or 5 starter with an occasional dominant start.  He also has an extreme outside chance of having a career like Tom Glavine, but I wouldn't count on it.  He certainly deserves to be in the mix for next year's Giants MLB squad and may well have just knocked Albert Suarez out of next year's 6'th starter/swingman role.  I don't know if he is postseason eligible, but if he is, he may have knocked Suarez out of that role for the postseason too!


  1. Blach was a September 1st call up, so he should be postseason eligible. I can't imagine the Giants don't carry him as a 5th starter/swingman given his left handedness and ability to get out of a jam with a double play. Same goes for Okert, but he'll lose in the lefty numbers game. I imagine the roster goes:
    Blanco/Parker (I'd rather see Parker)

    1-4 starters

  2. Baseball America put him on July's "All Prospect" team this year:

    "LHP Ty Blach • Giants
    Triple-A Sacramento (Pacific Coast)

    With Jake Peavy (5.47 ERA in 21 starts) and Matt Cain (5.53 ERA in 14 starts) rounding out the big league rotation, the Giants—even with the acquisition of the Rays’ Matt Moore—could soon begin looking at internal options, especially after going 4-11 to begin the second half. Blach, a control-oriented starter with a good changeup, is arguably the best of those internal options. He leads the Pacific Coast League with 130 innings while ranking sixth with a 3.54 ERA and seventh with a walk rate of 1.87 per nine innings."


    Personally I think he's a middle reliever. He's got one +pitch, his change up. After that... Nothing scary. But I'd be happy to be wrong (in a good way).

  3. The WC won't require 13 pitchers, maybe not the NLDS but that's the next series.
    Since the WC is (presumably) a "series" and thus has it own roster, it can be overloaded with position players, so Nunez, Hernandez, Parker, and Blanco could be on it by removing some pitchers who won't play (Cueto, Moore, Blach, and Casilla).
    By Friday if the Giants get there, Nunez will certainly be on the roster. Okert along with Smith have been the most reliable LH relievers. The Cubs, unlike the Dodgers, are a good bit better against LHP than RHP, so Blach is unnecessary.
    But that's a problem for Thursday, not today.

  4. Thanks for the scouting report Drb! Although Blach projects as a #4 or #5 starter, that was a great game that he pitched on Saturday considering he's just a rookie and knowing what was at stake for the team.. It also says a lot about the kid's stuff and mental makeup that Bochy went to him to pitch that game and not Suarez, Cain, Peavy... He made sure that we didn't get a repeat of the Salamon Torres fiasco! Now on to CITI field to face Thor! I'm sure you'll be posting a wild card game preview later, I'm excited! Go Giants!