Sacramento River Cats Media Day – Interview With Ty Blach
I was able to attend the Sacramento River Cats Media Day on Tuesday, April 5th. For those unfamiliar, the River Cats are the San Francisco Giants Triple-A affiliate. It was quite an experience for me, as I have never been to a Media Day. Local news outlets were there to talk with players and coaches and get some B-Roll footage for their newscast. They also wanted to talk with local area Sacramento product, catcher Andrew Susac. Susac is a highly thought of prospect within the Giants organization and was suppose to be a sure lock to make the 25-man roster as the backup catcher coming out of spring training. However, a recurrence of a wrist injury that he suffered late last season while with the Giants resurfaced in spring training and hindered Susac’s chances of making the big-league ball club out of spring training. So, Susac is currently in Sacramento rehabbing and getting in the reps he missed in spring training.
I had full clubhouse access where I had my pick of the litter from the players and coaching staff, but there was one player that I really wanted to pick his brain and get a few minutes of his time. That player was starting pitcher Ty Blach. I’ve been following Blach since I first saw him when he was in high Single-A San Jose. I attended a game he pitched against the Stockton Ports, high Single-A team affiliate to the Oakland A’s, and he pitched well. He wasn’t, and still isn’t, the hardest throwing pitcher, but he mixed up his pitches well and featured nice offspeed pitches. After seeing him, I thought he could be a real asset for the Giants down the road.
Well, three seasons later, and Blach is still with the Giants organization making some headway. Blach spent last season with River Cats going 11-12 W-L with a 4.46 ERA, 189 H’s, 92 R/82 ER, 16 HR’s, 31 BB’s, 93 SO’s, and a 1.331 WHIP in 165.1 IP’s. He will be entering his second season with the River Cats, and while he may be getting caught up in a numbers games the way the major league ball club is currently constructed, I still think there is a spot for him within the Giants organization. One avenue I wanted to explore with Blach is the possibility of him moving out from being a starter and becoming a lefty reliever; a specialist in a similar mold as current Giants lefty specialist Javier Lopez. When I see Blach pitch, I see Lopez – who just so happens to be a free agent this upcoming offseason and is also getting up there in age in terms of the baseball world. Lopez has not commented on what the future holds for him, and while the Giants have another lefty reliever in the bullpen in Josh Osich, Osich is more of a flame-throwing reliever, the complete opposite of Lopez. There is no rule saying you can only have one lefty reliever, and Osich and Blach could be that Jeremy Affeldt/Lopez combo that worked out well for the Giants bullpen during their World Series title runs.
While I don’t want to diminish what Blach has worked hard at and accomplished as a starter and how far he has come, there is nothing wrong with being a key member of a really good bullpen. It’s a well-traveled path for most relievers currently in the game today and I wanted to get Blach’s thoughts on this idea and/or if the Giants had discussed this road to the majors with him.
Here is my interview: