It's not as if Ty Tice is looking to sneak up on anyone, but the Buffalo Bisons reliever has shown a knack for moving up.In fact, the 16th-round pick in 2017 has reached Triple-A with hardly a blotch on his résumé.
It's not as if Ty Tice is looking to sneak up on anyone, but the Buffalo Bisons reliever has shown a knack for moving up.
In fact, the 16th-round pick in 2017 has reached Triple-A with hardly a blotch on his résumé.
Despite a background in high school basketball that gained him clout, he's listed at 5-foot-9. On first glance, he won't make batters tremble in the box.
"My stature probably doesn't scare anybody," Tice said. "But I hope my stuff does."
He has exited each level with measly ERAs, the highest a 2.70 mark with Class A Advanced Dunedin. After 20 games with Double-A New Hampshire this spring, he joined the Bisons.
Perhaps the underdog mentality has served him well.
"I always feel I have to prove something," Tice said. "I kind of take that on and kind of run with it."
In college with Central Arkansas, his teammates heard the stories about his prep basketball days and were somewhat leery. On the mound, there was no question something was there.
"He just threw really hard," said former college teammate Will Hancock, now a catcher in the Kansas City organization. "That fastball in college caught your attention."
Yet for a while, Tice wasn't much of a pitching prospect at Central Arkansas, where he spent three seasons after going unnoticed in recruiting from power-conference schools. He was primarily an outfielder with some time as a second baseman.
Then he spent a summer in the Northwoods League, a summer college circuit, and went to the mound enough to generate curiosity.
"After my sophomore year when I went to the Northwoods, I started getting seen," he said.
Tice has used a mix of fastballs, sliders and curves to carve through lineups. Whatever Tice has, he'll use. Buffalo manager Bobby Meacham likes that.
"He's not afraid to challenge hitters," Meacham said. "He's willing and able to get guys out in the strike zone."
Tice has found himself on the back end of the Bisons' bullpen, often in a set-up capacity.
"I can pitch every day," Tice said. "I feel like I can. I prepare like I can pitch every single day."
Meacham said it's not necessary to label Tice with any particular role. "It doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be that way with us," the manager said. "You label pitchers way too early."
Tice is averaging more than a strikeout per inning as a pro pitcher. During that time, batters are collectively hitting below .200 against him.
"You see what comes out of his hand," Meacham said. "It doesn't matter how big or tall he is."
In briefPower outage:
The league's top two home run hitters were called up to the Major Leagues during the past week -- Gwinnett's Adam Duvall
to Atlanta and Louisville's Aristides Aquino
to Cincinnati -- after belting 29 and 28 homers, respectively. But there are several others who could approach the IL's highest homer count in a dozen seasons since Charlotte's Brad Eldred smacked 35 in 2008.Hit and pitch:
League batting leader Jake Cronenworth
of the Durham Bulls has been out since suffering a hamstring injury during a 4-for-4 outing July 16 at Toledo. The shortstop is batting .342, when not making brief pitching appearances that have been deemed largely successful. He's expected to return to action soon, though Bulls manager Brady Williams said the pitching might be curtailed for this season. "There was enough, not just from my eye, but the organization's eyes, that there's enough there to continue to develop that," Williams said of the long-term view.Make a decision:
The International League hasn't had a pitcher with double-digit wins and losses since 2015, but Louisville starter Keury Mella
could be on a pace even with a no-decision last week. The right-hander is 7-10 in 22 starts, logging a league-high 116 innings. The 2015 season resulted in Rochester pitchers Pat Dean
(12-11) and Taylor Rodgers (11-12) racking up decisions.
Bob Sutton is a contributor to MiLB.com.