D-backs Shortstop Ryan Bliss Keeps Surprising People

Ryan Bliss is not overly physical and does not possess eye-popping tools. Instead, he is the kind of player who seems to make a habit of surprising people.

Bliss did it at Auburn when he connected for 15 home runs in 2021, tripling his career output entering the year.

And after the D-backs drafted him in the second round last July, Bliss opened more eyes with his defense. He looked less like a player bound to shift to second base and more like someone who just might stick at shortstop.

“He’s kind of one of those guys where the sum is greater than the parts,” D-backs assistant scouting director Kerry Jenkins said. “He’s just a really good baseball player.”

Bliss, who is listed at 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, said he used the down time during 2020 to revamp his swing and add strength to his body. He said he got better at using his legs and staying back on balls and also thinks he improved the strength in his core and forearms.

“It’s helped me get more whip and power throughout my swing,” Bliss said.

Jenkins saw it firsthand. Before moving into an office role in December, he was the area scout who saw Bliss.

“He tapped into power, but also had the aptitude to not sacrifice his approach,” Jenkins said. “You see guys sell out for power, and they get to it, but along with that comes 20% more strikeouts. He kept his strikeout rate low.”

Bliss’ subpar arm still might force a move to second base, but his performance at Low-A Visalia has evaluators thinking otherwise.

Bliss applies his baseball IQ to mitigate for his arm, saying that he considers all the angles: “How fast is the field playing? Is the ball hit hard? Is the runner an 80-grade runner? It all plays into how you field a ball.”

Bliss said that showcasing his speed is one goal for 2022.

“I want to get to 20, 30 bags,” he said. “Hit for a good average, keep showing the power and stick at short. That and be a great teammate.”


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