San Francisco Giants Top 2016 Prospects
#18: Ty Blach, LHP, Age 25: Blach was top 10 in my 2014 and 2015 winter rankings, and I still think quite highly of him. The difference this year is that we’re starting to get a better idea of what his MLB career could look like, and the Giants had a plethora of high ceiling arms blossom in 2015 (Chase Johnson, Jordan Johnson, Sam Coonrod). Blach may not possess the eye-popping fastball of others in the system, but he’s certainly got some positive things going for himself too. Southpaws with command can be quite valuable, and Ty has shown tremendous control throughout his professional career. He’s got a 4-pitch arsenal that he mixes quite well, and his changeup may be one of the best in the system.
The first thing people generally notice about Blach’s minor league numbers are his K-rates, which have dipped as he’s moved up the system. He was also very hittable for Sacramento last year, allowing 189 hits in 165.1 IP. However, the thing that really strikes me about Ty is his ability to log innings. He made 27 starts in AAA, and in 9 of his 11 least successful outings (game score 43 or less), he was still able to finish 5, 6, and sometimes even 7 innings of work. Actually, he only made 2 starts that were shorter than 5 IP all season. The Giants have shown they value that kind of durability in a pitcher. Heck, look at Barry Zito for crying out loud.
Blach also had his share of dominant games for the Rivercats in 2015, a 3-hit shutout (game score 85) best among them. I was in attendance for his start on May 3, when he allowed 3 hits and 1 run over 6 IP against El Paso. He only struck out 4 that afternoon, but he appeared in complete control for nearly the entirety of his outing. He likely won’t ever be a high strikeout arm. It’s just not his profile, and it never has been. Personally, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal for him. In fact, with the lack of openings in the Giants MLB rotation going forward, I could see Blach eventually finding his home in the bullpen, where his fastball may play just up a tad (91-93?), and his changeup could help give him an out pitch against righties. I’m not sure they make that move in 2016, but you just never know what kind of need will arise during the season.