Through the early part of the season, the Atlanta Braves were dealing with inconsistency with their pitching staff and were forced to cycle through a number of fresh arms to cover innings. We have highlighted several already in this series but up next is another in right-hander Ty Tice.
Tice was drafted in the 16th round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017 and advanced through their minor league system. He made his Major League debut on April 9 against the Los Angeles Angels and made four total appearances out of the Blue Jays’ bullpen. Toronto designated Tice for assignment on May 30. Ironically, he was cleared off the roster to make room for Carl Edwards Jr., whom we discussed earlier. The Braves acquired Tice for cash considerations in a deal on June 4.
The expectations were low: Tice would be asked to log and eat innings, hopefully in a semi-productive manner, whether at the Major League level or at Gwinnett. Given that he had been awful in multiple Triple-A stints and had a poor seven innings with Toronto, there was no real reason to figure he’d turn into gold for Atlanta. Some teams can turn the waiver wire into a motherlode for relief help, but the Braves haven’t really done that for years.
2021 Season results
Tice reported to Gwinnett and made four appearances, where he allowed two hits and one run. He was promoted to Atlanta on June 20 and allowed a hit and a walk in a scoreless inning June 21 against the Mets. That game came as part of a doubleheader and the Braves continued to juggle arms in and out of the bullpen, returning Tice to Gwinnett on June 24. Tie remained with Gwinnett until July 21, when he was claimed off waivers by the Arizona Diamondbacks as Atlanta attempted to remove him from the 40-man roster. Tice finished the season pitching for Arizona’s Triple-A affiliate Reno where he struggled in 11 appearances.
Ty Tice 2021 Stats
|2 Tms - 5||8.0||15.4||12.8||4.50||5.54||6.82|
|GWN - 11||11.0||16.3||10.2||7.36||8.00||-----|
What went right? What went wrong?
After some early success, Tice struggled toward the end of his run at Gwinnett. He ended up appearing in 11 games for the Stripers and allowing 13 hits and nine runs in 11 innings. He never had a tight grip on a roster spot and was exposed to (and lost on) waivers as the Braves closed in on the Trade Deadline.
One of Tice’s overall issues is just that his pitch mix doesn’t offer much. His fastball is fine and averaging 94 mph isn’t awful, but there’s not much backing it. His slider/cutter is thrown hard but lacks movement, and his curveball lacks depth and has been spotted terribly in the majors thus far. Some way to avoid relying on his crushable fastball is a necessity.
Road to the Title
Tice’s scoreless inning came in a two-run game in the sixth inning of a seven-inning doubleheader. Unfortunately, but naturally since Tice was the choice, that two-run game was one where the Braves were losing, and ultimately lost by that score. So while Tice is another guy whose best (and only) cWPA game came in a loss, at least it was positive. Here’s him getting Braves nemesis James McCann to ground out for his final batter faced in the majors in 2021.
Outlook for 2022
Tice is under team control with Arizona for next season and should be in Spring Training where he will compete for a spot in the team’s bullpen, a group that was bad enough in 2021 that there should be plenty of opportunity to seize a spot if he pitches well.