On the cusp of the major leagues: Troup alum Ryan Bliss takes part in first spring training

Published 8:40 am Wednesday, March 13, 2024

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Troup alum Ryan Bliss is on the verge of something special. The former Tiger baseball star is participating in his first major league spring training this year and is on the cusp of making his major league debut.

“It has been a really surreal experience and it has taught me a lot about baseball,” Bliss said. 

He has been on a tear in spring training. Through 10 games, Bliss is hitting .333 with four RBIs, four runs scored and an on-base percentage just shy of .400. It has been a dream start to the first spring training for Bliss. 

Bliss is playing in packed-out stadiums for one of the first times in his career.

“I think the only I mean, the only thing different is the fans there. The bigger stadiums, the fans at these games are a lot more. And I think that’s about the only thing, learning how to slow the game down,” Bliss said. 

Just to be a part of spring training is a dream becoming reality for the young man who grew up playing ball in Troup County. 

“It was sometime in the offseason. I can’t remember exactly when, but I got the call and I was very excited and happy that I got a chance to be in the big spring training and show what I can do,” he said. “I just remember when I was back at Troup, at home with my dad and I would just sit on the couch and just watch this and just hope one day I can be a part of it. So it is somewhat surreal to actually be a part of being here and doing the same thing, seeing the fans at Spring Training and just being a part of this.”

This will be the first full season Bliss has had in the Mariners organization. The 24-year-old middle infielder was traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system to the Mariners at the end of July which was a completely new experience for him.

“I mean, that whole experience was crazy. You know, you never think it could be you,” Bliss said. “You don’t even know what it is going to be like until it happens.

“At the end of the day, it’s all baseball. It doesn’t matter what uniform you have on you know, the only thing that’s different is you got to learn new faces and new organizational schemes, that’s about it.”

It took a little while for Bliss to get adjusted to his new environment, but things eventually began to click. He ended up hitting .251 with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs with Seattle’s AAA team, Tacoma Rainiers. 

“I had a little rough stint there in August, but I mean it’s baseball,” Bliss said. “I learned a lot in my first full month in AAA, so I learned a lot learn a lot about how to adjust and everything but you know I was very happy to where I finished up in September with Tacoma.” 

Bliss has continued to add wrinkles to his game after being drafted in the second round of the 2021 MLB draft. Last season, Bliss showed a level of power from the plate he had not shown before. In total, he hit 23 home runs and 86 RBIs across AA and AAA in 2023. 

Since then, Bliss has tried to add even more tools to his arsenal while sharpening some of his less refined skills.

“I just worked on myself, you know, working on my approach,” Bliss said. “I think that’s the one thing that can separate guys. I’ve seen what separates the guys that are in the bigs that do it consistently is their approach and the way they attack each at bat, they have a game plan.”

The MLB season is fast approaching and Bliss is going to the season with no expectations or weight on his shoulders. He is playing free and ready for whatever the next step is.