Blue Jays: Ricky Tiedemann sparkles in Spring Training debut
The much anticipated Spring Training debut for super prospect Ricky Tiedemann went about as well as Blue Jays fans could have hoped for.
With the Jays hosting the Detroit Tigers at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, the 20-year-old lefty came in to pitch the top of the sixth. His first big league opponent, veteran Javier Báez, didn't stand much of a chance.
Tiedemann started Báez off with a 98.1 mph sinker that went for a ball. But that didn't faze the youngster. He came right back with another sinker at 97.4 mph for a called strike to even the count.
After a beautiful 85.7 mph changeup that Báez fouled off, Tiedemann elevated a 99.4 mph sinker that the experienced hitter offered at but had no chance of getting to.
The rest of the inning went just as smoothly for the young pitcher, who hadn't pitched above the Double-A level before today.
He induced a groundout to short from Austin Meadows and then logged his second strikeout of the inning against Matt Vierling. After using his sweeping slider to freeze Vierling for a called strike, the poised-looking Tiedemann threw three sinkers, all at 98 mph, before finishing him off with an 85 mph changeup.
Tiedemann came into camp with the Jays as a longshot dark horse to make the rotation, competing against Yusei Kikuchi and Mitch White for the fifth starter spot.
While he will still likely begin the season in Triple-A, every performance like the one he had today will make the decision of what to do with the talented pitcher more challenging for the Blue Jays' coaches and front office.
All fans can do is remain hopeful that the rest of the spring goes as well for Tiedemann, and he raises his stock to the point where he forces the organization to call him up to Toronto at some point this season.