Bleich Shaking Off The Rust

Jeremy Bleich signed too late to get any significant amount of time in the minor league season, just a couple of games with the Staten Island Yankees. The pair of games, however, helped allow him to shake off the rust as he prepares for a busy offseason, starting at Instructs and culminating in the Hawaiian Winter League.

When the Yankees took Jeremy Bleich during the supplemental round of the amateur draft this season, many eyebrows were raised. When he signed for less money than people expected, that got even more attention.

While the concerns might have been overblown, one could understand the reasoning behind them. Bleich showed a lot of promise pitching for Stanford University, but he was never expected to be chosen as soon as he was by some pundits.

Also when he signed for under slot value, even with the infamous Scott Boras as his agent, many speculated that the 21-year-old lefty was having arm troubles. Then when word came that Bleich would finish this season with the Staten Island Yankees, many realized that the reports of his arm troubles might have been greatly exaggerated.

During his two appearances with Staten Island, eyebrows were also raised, but for the first time it was for positive reasons. In his first two appearances he threw seven innings and allowed two runs on four hits, eight strikeouts, and zero walks.

After signing close to the deadline it didn't look like Bleich would make it into any games, but he quietly worked his way into game shape down in Tampa, waiting for the opportunity to come.

"I was down in Tampa for a couple of weeks to get back in shape," Bleich said. "I was definitely chomping at the bit a little bit to get back into a real game situation, so I was excited about that."

After the College World Series ended, Bleich took a couple of weeks off or so in order to get back into game shape and then spent a couple of weeks in Tampa gettting his pitch count up. He did that, gradually working with coaches and throwing a couple of simulated games.

The work paid off as he made his first start in what would be a playoff clinching win for Staten Island. Bleich's numbers during the game - three innings and two earned runs - didn't look too impressive, but his poise and command on the mound was a different story.

"It was his first professional start," Staten Island pitching coach Pat Daneker said, "so I think he was just trying to go out there throwing the ball over the plate to get some quick outs. He just elevated one and it got up in the wind a little bit, and the guy hit it over the centerfield wall."

The team's coaches were impressed by the start, but having hardly seen Bleich at all, they had a hard time knowing if that was the pitcher the Yankees expected to see. Bleich himself though was quite happy with the start and was all smiles afterwards in the locker room.

"I thought I did an okay job settling down after [the home run]." said Bleich. "No jitters actually, I was upset that I buried the curveball and it just hit him, and on the next pitch I was just looking to get ahead with a first pitch fastball and he was waiting for it."

The home run Bleich was talking about was one he gave up in the first inning and was the only trouble he faced all game. One could assume he might have first game jitters or that he was just a little rusty coming into the game, but instead Bleich said it was more of underestimating the hitters, something he said he learned from immediately.

"You learn. You learn as you go," he explained. "First pitch fastball and the guy was ready for it, I have to learn from that. There are things that you have to learn from, that's baseball. You always have to adjust and whoever makes the adjustments better, that's usually who wins."

On the mound Bleich primarily throws three pitches, a fastball which came in at a consistent 90-92 MPH, a curveball which he was able to command on both the inside and outside corners of the plate, and a changeup that had a strong dip to it and fooled a few hitters.

"He's got good stuff," Daneker said. "His mechanics are pretty smooth. His delivery is clean and he hits his spots pretty well. He's got good tilt on his breaking ball, good fade on his changeup, and when he's throwing to a spot he usually doesn't miss it by too much."

The most impressive thing about him on the mound is his composure. He had a little trouble in that first inning, but it never once seemed to faze him and he came back strong with a great second and third innings. His second appearance, which came in the playoffs, was equally as impressive.

"I thought he showed great composure," Staten Island manager Pat McMahon said. "He competed, threw the ball in the strike zone, his delivery is outstanding, he repeated pitches against a very good offensive club. We're very pleased with his performance."

He seems to command his fastball the best and of his offspeed pitches his curveball looks further along than the changeup. Bleich agreed with that assessment, but noted that he doesn't think his changeup is a bad pitch.

He said the reason it could be lagging just a bit is because he just recently changed his grip on the pitch so it's still a little bit of a work in progress.

"I'm actually throwing a little bit of a new changeup," Bleich explained. "I went from throwing a two-seam changeup to a four-seam changeup and I'm trying to get that going a little bit. I'm a little rusty, everything is a little bit rusty, but the more you throw the better you'll get."

Overall coaches and players were all impressed with Bleich, even with only a quick viewing of what he's got. He must have been impressive because the two games he pitched in for Staten Island were probably two of their biggest games of the season.

"I think he's pretty advanced right now," Daneker said. "I don't think they picked him in the supplemental round for no reason. The kid can pitch and he seems like a pretty level headed kid.

"I think he's got some pitchability. When you watch him down in the bullpen you can tell he knows how to pitch."

His first season pitching professionally was short-lived but impressive. From Staten Island, Bleich will stretch himself out even more at Instructs before pitching this winter in the Hawiian league in order to log more innings and to prepare for his first Spring Training.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nWhen the Yankees took Jeremy Bleich during the supplemental round of the amateur draft this season, many eyebrows were raised. When he signed for less money than people expected, that got even more attention.
\r\n
\r\nWhile the concerns might have been overblown, one could understand the reasoning behind them. Bleich showed a lot of promise pitching for Stanford University, but he was never expected to be chosen as soon as he was by some pundits.
\r\n
\r\nAlso when he signed for under slot value, even with the infamous Scott Boras as his agent, many speculated that the 21-year-old lefty was having arm troubles. Then when word came that Bleich would finish this season with the Staten Island Yankees, many realized that the reports of his arm troubles might have been greatly exaggerated.
\r\n
\r\nDuring his two appearances with Staten Island, eyebrows were also raised, but for the first time it was for positive reasons. In his first two appearances he threw seven innings and allowed two runs on four hits, eight strikeouts, and zero walks.
\r\n
\r\nAfter signing close to the deadline it didn't look like Bleich would make it into any games, but he quietly worked his way into game shape down in Tampa, waiting for the opportunity to come.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was down in Tampa for a couple of weeks to get back in shape,\" Bleich said. \"I was definitely chomping at the bit a little bit to get back into a real game situation, so I was excited about that.\"
\r\n
\r\nAfter the College World Series ended, Bleich took a couple of weeks off or so in order to get back into game shape and then spent a couple of weeks in Tampa gettting his pitch count up. He did that, gradually working with coaches and throwing a couple of simulated games.
\r\n
\r\nThe work paid off as he made his first start in what would be a playoff clinching win for Staten Island. Bleich's numbers during the game - three innings and two earned runs - didn't look too impressive, but his poise and command on the mound was a different story.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was his first professional start,\" Staten Island pitching coach Pat Daneker said, \"so I think he was just trying to go out there throwing the ball over the plate to get some quick outs. He just elevated one and it got up in the wind a little bit, and the guy hit it over the centerfield wall.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe team's coaches were impressed by the start, but having hardly seen Bleich at all, they had a hard time knowing if that was the pitcher the Yankees expected to see. Bleich himself though was quite happy with the start and was all smiles afterwards in the locker room.
\r\n
\r\n\"I thought I did an okay job settling down after [the home run].\" said Bleich. \"No jitters actually, I was upset that I buried the curveball and it just hit him, and on the next pitch I was just looking to get ahead with a first pitch fastball and he was waiting for it.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe home run Bleich was talking about was one he gave up in the first inning and was the only trouble he faced all game. One could assume he might have first game jitters or that he was just a little rusty coming into the game, but instead Bleich said it was more of underestimating the hitters, something he said he learned from immediately.
\r\n
\r\n\"You learn. You learn as you go,\" he explained. \"First pitch fastball and the guy was ready for it, I have to learn from that. There are things that you have to learn from, that's baseball. You always have to adjust and whoever makes the adjustments better, that's usually who wins.\"
\r\n
\r\nOn the mound Bleich primarily throws three pitches, a fastball which came in at a consistent 90-92 MPH, a curveball which he was able to command on both the inside and outside corners of the plate, and a changeup that had a strong dip to it and fooled a few hitters.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got good stuff,\" Daneker said. \"His mechanics are pretty smooth. His delivery is clean and he hits his spots pretty well. He's got good tilt on his breaking ball, good fade on his changeup, and when he's throwing to a spot he usually doesn't miss it by too much.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe most impressive thing about him on the mound is his composure. He had a little trouble in that first inning, but it never once seemed to faze him and he came back strong with a great second and third innings. His second appearance, which came in the playoffs, was equally as impressive.
\r\n
\r\n\"I thought he showed great composure,\" Staten Island manager Pat McMahon said. \"He competed, threw the ball in the strike zone, his delivery is outstanding, he repeated pitches against a very good offensive club. We're very pleased with his performance.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe seems to command his fastball the best and of his offspeed pitches his curveball looks further along than the changeup. Bleich agreed with that assessment, but noted that he doesn't think his changeup is a bad pitch.
\r\n
\r\nHe said the reason it could be lagging just a bit is because he just recently changed his grip on the pitch so it's still a little bit of a work in progress.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm actually throwing a little bit of a new changeup,\" Bleich explained. \"I went from throwing a two-seam changeup to a four-seam changeup and I'm trying to get that going a little bit. I'm a little rusty, everything is a little bit rusty, but the more you throw the better you'll get.\"
\r\n
\r\nOverall coaches and players were all impressed with Bleich, even with only a quick viewing of what he's got. He must have been impressive because the two games he pitched in for Staten Island were probably two of their biggest games of the season.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think he's pretty advanced right now,\" Daneker said. \"I don't think they picked him in the supplemental round for no reason. The kid can pitch and he seems like a pretty level headed kid.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think he's got some pitchability. When you watch him down in the bullpen you can tell he knows how to pitch.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis first season pitching professionally was short-lived but impressive. From Staten Island, Bleich will stretch himself out even more at Instructs before pitching this winter in the Hawiian league in order to log more innings and to prepare for his first Spring Training.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

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