Last season, the Blue Jays only had two picks within the first three rounds, as the club lost their second-round selection as compensation for signing George Springer to a long-term contract during the 2020/2021 offseason.
The Jays used their first-round pick on right-hander Gunnar Hoglund, who fell to the Blue Jays at #19 after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier in the year, which hurt his draft status. The University of Mississippi product would never throw under the Blue Jays banner, as he along with three others were shipped to the Oakland Athletics as part of the Matt Chapman trade earlier this year.
The front office then used their third-round selection on southpaw Ricky Tiedemann, a product of Golden West College out in Huntington Beach, California. He inked a $644,000 signing bonus but did not suit up with an affiliate team last year after logging seven starts and 38.0 innings with the Rustlers, earning a 3.55 ERA with 60 strikeouts. Instead, Tiedemann went to the Jays development complex in Dunedin and worked with the staff on a throwing program which added some velocity to his fastball and muscle to his 6’4″ frame, while also working on his secondary offerings.
He started the season in Single-A Dunedin, making six starts and allowing just 11 hits and six earned runs through 30.0 innings of work. The left-hander also added 49 strikeouts to the tune of a 14.7 K/9 but did have a bit of an elevated BB/9 at 3.9, which is an element to work on as he continues to start. While he did allow 13 walks, he kept them in check over his last few outings with Dunedin and was recently promoted to High-A Vancouver, where he made his debut yesterday for the Canadians.
After an impressive start to the 2022 campaign, it looks like the Blue Jays may have the steal of the 2021 draft with Ricky Tiedemann.
The Jays top-ranked pitching prospect lasted 4.2 innings and allowed just two hits and one earned run while striking out nine batters. He threw 76 pitches where 51 were called strikes, adding two walks and one HBP to his line before being pulled from the game. His fastball was sitting in the mid-90s and he struck out the first two batters he faced on the Tri-City Dust Devils squad. Tiedemann did run into some trouble in the second inning where two singles and an error allowed two runs to score (one earned) but would buckle down and did not allow anoter hit until being pulled in the fifth inning.
With his plus fastball, solid circle-change, and impressive slider, it is easy to see why the Blue Jays are keen on Tiedemann, who even earned some high praise from general manager Ross Atkins earlier this week, “He has the stuff to compete right now in the major leagues… It’s a matter of just being really consistent with it and building a full workload.”
The workload comment makes sense, as the rising prospect does not have a lot of innings under his belt even at the collegiate level prior to being drafted. It seems the Blue Jays want to have him continue starting, so it will be important to keep the workload in check so he doesn’t burn out towards the end of the year. I wouldn’t be surprised though if Tiedemann runs the minor-league ladder rather quickly though, especially if he can continue to strike guys out in High-A like he did to start the year, as a promotion to AA towards the back end of the year is certainly not out of the question (with the workload being managed obviously).
Considering he was drafted by the Jays in the third round at 91st overall, Ricky Tiedemann is quickly starting to look like one of the biggest steals of the 2021 draft (albeit it is a bit early to judge given the small sample size). However, given how quickly he progressed in Single-A and his already impressive start with Vancouver, Tiedemann could be knocking on the big league door earlier than his projected 2024 ETA.