Baltimore Orioles Add LHP Ty Blach To The Pitching Mix
The Baltimore Orioles have claimed reliever Ty Blach off waivers.
After making just one move at this year’s trade deadline, sending RHP Dan Straily to the Philadelphia Phillies for cash considerations, it was safe to assume that the Baltimore Orioles would make at least one move, if not more, after monitoring the influx of movement on the waiver wire, post-trade deadline craziness.
In a constant state of needing fresh arms to get through the final few weeks of the season and hoping to maybe hit on someone who can step up and contribute next year, Mike Elias has not been shy about scouring the waiver wire, even claiming Jose Rondon off waivers from the White Sox last week, despite already having a large handful of middle infielders on the active roster. In his latest move, Elias has claimed relief pitcher Ty Blach off waivers from the San Francisco Giants.
Blach was designated for assignment last week after the return of pitcher Logan Webb from the Restricted List (80-game suspension for PED use).
The addition of Blach was part of a series of moves made by the organization on Saturday afternoon. To make room for Blach on the 40-man roster, the Orioles designated the aforementioned Jose Rondon for assignment (we hardly knew ye) and re-called RHP Branden Kline from Triple-A. Blach will make his organizational debut in Triple-A with the Norfolk Tides.
Blach is a four-pitch pitcher (fastball, slider, changeup, curveball) who has been used largely as a swing-man by the Giants since making his MLB debut in 2016. He’s made 87 career appearances at the big league level, 39 of them starts. One of his more notable starts came last season. Taking the place of an injured Madison Bumgarner, Blach took the bump for Opening Day against the Los Angeles Dodgers, outdueling Clayton Kershaw with five shutout innings en route to a 1-0 Giants win.
Overall, Blach is 15-19 with a 4.56 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, and .283 batting average against in 305.2 MLB innings.
While I can’t say I’ve watched a lot of Ty Blach, a quick look at his Baseball Savant page raises some eyebrows. He doesn’t seem to fit the mold of many other pitchers recently claimed by the Orioles this season. Looking back at his 2017 and 2018 numbers, Blach ranked near the bottom of the league in fastball velocity (averages 90 mph with his fastball) and has ranked in the bottom 25% of the league in fastball spin rate.
Blach has also ranked in the bottom 1% and bottom 6% of the league in strikeout rate in each of the last two seasons (10.5% and 14.6% K-rates). While he doesn’t bring an overpowering fastball or the ability to produce a large number of swings and misses, Blach has been reliable out of the bullpen.
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Looking back at this 2018 season, Blach worked a 5.15 ERA, 12% strikeout rate, 8.7% walk rate, and allowed hitters to post a .306 average as a starting pitcher. When used out of the pen, his numbers were much better. As a reliever, Blach owned a 3.17 ERA, 18% strikeout rate, 7% walk rate, and limited hitters to a .267 average.
Should he get the call to the big leagues, which he likely will soon, maybe Blach is able to contribute out of the pen and eat a few innings while coming in after an Aaron Brooks or Gabriel Ynoa start, or come in and finish the final three innings of a blowout game. Either way, this a depth move for the Orioles so they aren’t forced to bring up any prospect pitchers of note to help get through the rest of the regular season. As much as both you and I want to see some of these guys now, good things come to those who wait.
Blach has spent much of his 2019 season in Triple-A, going 3-4 with a 5.93 ERA for the Sacramento River Cats. In 91 innings, he is striking out 16% of hitters and walking 6%, both near career-highs for the 29-year-old. For reference, pitchers in the Pacific Coast League currently own a 5.51 ERA.