San Francisco Giants extend spring training invite to Ty Blach


This is the eleventh in a series of articles, here at Around the Foghorn, covering the 22 non-roster invitees joining the San Francisco Giants in their spring training complex this season.

Southpaw Ty Blach, groomed to be a starting pitcher, was invited to join the San Francisco Giants and twenty-one other non-roster players, in the desert for spring training. Should durability or effectiveness prove to be an issue with the rotation at any point during the 162-game schedule, Giants management would like to know firsthand whether or not Blach might be able to fill in.

Blach is out of Creighton University, and was drafted as a junior in the fifth round of the Major League Baseball Draft, in 2012. He gained prominence in his first professional season in the hitter-friendly California League, where he had the best ERA at 2.90, and a walks-per-nine-innings rate of 1.2.

In his second full season as a professional in 2014, he moved from Single A ball up to Double-A Richmond, where he posted a 3.19 ERA for the Flying Squirrels, in 141 innings during 25 starts. He pitched superbly in his final five games, recording a 1.10 ERA with 25 Ks, in 32.2 innings.

The six-one, 210 pound Blach, lacks what would be called a dominant pitch, but MLB Prospects’ Mike Rosenbaum categorizes his fastball, slider and changeup to be “average or better at maturity, and should play up thanks to his plus command.” Rosenbaum concluded by saying that though he would start the year in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, Blach was on pace for a second-half debut in 2015, with the Giants.

He has a four-seam and a two-seam fastball, the latter of which he throws with a sinking motion, good for when he is trying to induce a double-play ground ball. He also throws a slider, curve and changeup. With veteran pitchers like Madison Bumgarner, Matt CainTim Hudson and Jake Peavy on hand to answer questions, there is a lot of knowledge to be gained.

Madbum pitching at Spring Training in March 2014. Photo by Denise Walos.

Sean Bialaszek, of Golden Gate Sports, described Blach’s changeup as his best secondary pitch with good deception and side fade.

Ty Blach helps his own cause by keeping his two-seam fastball down, as well as his number of walks allowed.

He went on to say that Blach is known to attack hitters and pound the strike zone. His ability to minimize his walks, pitch to contact and keep his cool on the mound, are all characteristics which will facilitate his progress to the big leagues.

Here is a closer look at some key stats from his only two seasons as a pro:

2013: Age 22/San Jose Giants/HiA level/California League/12-4/2.90 ERA/22 G/20 GS/130.1 IP/124 H/42 ER/8 HR/18 BB/117 SO/ 1.24 BB/9/6.90 SO/9/WHIP 1.19  Note the 18 walks versus the 117 Ks.

2014: Age 23/Richmond Flying Squirrels/AA/Eastern League/8-8/3.13 ERA/25 G/25 GS/1 CG/141.0 IP/142 H/ 49 ER/39 BB/91 SO/2.49 BB/9/5.81 SO/9/WHIP 1.28

Having great control is Blach’s best hope for a successful entry into a big league career. Not having to wonder where the ball is going to end up, allows him to place much greater emphasis on improving the pitches he has, and taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge assembled around him in the Giants’ clubhouse.

He has spent two full seasons working with players in similar circumstances as those of himself. Now he is spending time in the same venue as a group of veterans who have not only earned world series rings, but done it as a unit. These guys have had to make adjustments on the fly and they have learned to use one another as resources.

Blach, like the other non-roster players in camp, will be trying diligently to show Bruce Bochy and Dave Righetti that he can get the job done. There are four other lefties in camp trying to do the same thing: Braulio Lara, Adalberto Mejia, Steven Okert and Nik Turley.

There must be a great deal of pressure on one and all, and yet, they can’t really let it show. All they can do is go out and play the best ball of their careers, so that they might earn a chance to compete on the big stage with some big-name players.

Yeah, right. That’s all.