Jeremy Michael Bleich
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 2", Weight 195 lb.
- School Stanford University
- High School Isidore Newman School
- Debut July 13, 2018
- Final Game July 20, 2018
Jeremy Bleich pitched ten seasons in the minors before finally making it to the majors in 2018.
Bleich was on the US team that finished second in the 2005 Pan American Junior Championship. He was 9-3 with 100 strikeouts in 71 innings as a high school sophomore and 7-3 with a 1.25 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 72 2/3 innings as a junior while hitting .464 with 8 homers. He was named a third-team high school All-American by Baseball America after going 7-1 with a 0.56 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 63 innings, hitting .387. The other third-team pitchers were Chaz Roe, Brett Jacobson, Brian Matusz and Ryan Tucker.
He proceeded to college at Stanford University, going 4-4 with 7 saves and a 4.05 ERA as a freshman, tying Daniel Schlereth for 4th in the Pac-10 Conference in saves. He had a 1-1, 2.09 record for the Wareham Gatemen in the Cape Cod League and allowed only one earned run in 13 postseason innings in the summer, again going 1-1. In 2007, he was 2-8 with a 5.56 ERA as a member of the Stanford rotation. He was again strong with Wareham in the summer at 4-2, 2.44 and 47 whiffs in 44 1/3 innings. He improved to 3-3, 2.09 as a junior, missing time with injury, and won a game in the 2008 College World Series.
Bleich was drafted by the New York Yankees in the supplemental first round of the 2008 amateur draft. The 44th overall pick (between Wade Miley and Bryan Price), it was compensation for the loss of Luis Vizcaino in free agency. He was signed by scout Mike Thurman for $700,000 and made his pro debut that summer. He allowed two runs in three innings for the Staten Island Yankees, then had a strong winter for the Waikiki Beach Boys of the Hawaii Winter League, going 3-2 with a 1.77 ERA. He tied for third in the league in wins, was 7th in strikeouts (33) and was 7th in ERA. He joined Satoshi Nagai and Kyle Bloom as the league's All-Star starting pitchers.
Jeremy split 2009 between the Tampa Yankees (6-4, 3.40 in 14 games) and Trenton Thunder (3-6, 6.65 in 13 games). He tied for 5th in the Yankee chain in wins, was 4th in losses and 5th in strikeouts (116). Baseball America rated him the #9 Yankees prospect. He started 2010 back with Trenton and had a 3-2, 4.79 record after 8 starts when his season was cut short with a shoulder strain. He had surgery in 2011 and hit the rehab trail in 2012, with stints for the GCL Yankees (0 R in 5 2/3 innings), Staten Island (2.53 in 5 games) and Tampa (1-1, 3.86 in 8 games). He went 2-1 with two saves and a 2.76 ERA in 27 games (4 starts) for Tampa in 2013, walking 39 in 65 1/3 innings. He had the second-lowest homer rate by Yankee minor leaguers, allowing just one in 65 1/3 innings (Danny Burawa allowed one in 66), but had three stints on the DL (knee, hip, forearm). In 2014, he made it to AAA, going 5-6 with a 3.39 ERA in 15 starts for AA Trenton and 0-4, 6.68 in 11 games (5 starts) for the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. He nearly led Yankee minor leaguers in losses, one behind Dan Camarena.
Pitching for Israel and around the minors
Moving to the Pittsburgh Pirates chain, he pitched for the 2015 Bradenton Marauders (0 R in 3 innings), Altoona Curve (0-2, 4 saves, 3.25 in 25 games) and Indianapolis Indians (a save, 2.60 in 13 games). Next signing with the Philadelphia Phillies, he had stints in 2016 for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (0 R in one inning) and Reading Fightin Phils (4-2, a save, 4.14 in 29 games). Let go by Philadelphia, he wound up with the independent Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League (2-2, 2.45 in 17 games, 28 strikeouts in 22 innings) to finish the year.
Bleich joined the Israeli national team for the 2017 WBC Qualifiers. He relieved Jared Lakind in the 7th with a 1-0 lead against Brazil (defending its spot from the 2013 WBC). He went 1-2-3, retiring Bo Bichette then fanning Luis Camargo and Lucas Rojo. In the 8th, he retired Gabriel Maciel and whiffed Carlos Garmendia but then Leonardo Reginatto and Dante Bichette Jr. singled; Ryan Sherriff relieved and escaped the jam. In the finale against the United Kingdom, he relieved Josh Zeid with a 6-0 lead in the 8th and a no-hitter in progress. He retired Jordan Serena and Chris Berset but Albert Cartwright singled to end the no-hitter and advanced on an error by Zach Borenstein. Chavez Young singled in Cartwright to end the shutout. After a walk to Kyle Simmons, the Louisianan was relieved by Craig Breslow. Israel won to advance to the 2017 WBC.
He played for Israel in the WBC in March 2017, appearing in three games and allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits in 2 1/3 innings. After the tournament, he was released by the Arizona Diamondbacks, who had signed him in the offseason, and was without a job. He contemplated finding another line of employment like real estate or medical equipment sales, but instead decided to give another try in independent ball, back with Somerset. After a couple of scoreless appearances in April, he managed to land another job in organized baseball, this time in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, going 5-3, 3.22 in 31 games for the Oklahoma City Dodgers, and 0-1, 6.17 for the AA Tulsa Drillers, recording 3 saves between the levels.
To the majors, finally
In 2018, Bleich joined another organization, signing with the Oakland Athletics. He began the season with the AAA Nashville Sounds, where he was solid in an unglamorous middle relief role, pitching 27 times and going 1-1, 3.00 with a save. On July 13th, he finally received the long-awaited call to the bigs, replacing Josh Lucas on the A's major league roster. He made his debut that evening, entering a sticky situation in the 9th against the San Francisco Giants after Ryan Dull loaded the bases with nobody out. Ryan Buchter would normally have been the one summoned, but he was unavailable after working the previous two games. Things did not go great, as Jeremy was tagged by Steven Duggar, himself in his first week as a major leaguer, for a two-run double, and then hit Brandon Belt with a pitch, exiting without having retired anyone but happy to have finally made it. Both runners eventually came in to score as Oakland lost, 7-1. He made one more appearance, on July 20th, also against San Francisco, during which he recorded his first strikeout - Ryder Jones - after giving up a double to Pablo Sandoval; he then gave way to J.B. Wendelken, finishing the season with an ERA of 54.00.
He bounced around the 2019 season. Signing with the Phillies again after becoming a free agent in November 2018, he was released at the end of spring training and caught on with the Boston Red Sox organization. He split his time between short-season Lowell and Triple A Pawtucket before being dealt to the Minnesota Twins organization for cash considerations in July. He logged 13 1/3 innings and 17 strikeouts with Triple A Rochester before electing free agency after the season.
- Jane Lee: "Bleich's long journey finally reaches Majors: Reliever makes big league debut in tough situation vs. Giants", mlb.com, July 14, 2018.