Blue Jays: 3 reasons Ricky Tiedemann won't make the Opening Day roster

Graeme Wallace
SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

There won’t be a player with more eyeballs on him at Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training than top prospect Ricky Tiedemann.

The young left-handed pitcher has experienced a rapid rise through the organization and has shot up the prospect rankings, going from unranked to #32.

As exciting as it’ll be for Tiedemann to face big-league hitters, and for fans to get a close look at the 20-year-old prodigy, both sides should temper their expectations about the young man making the Opening Day Roster.

Reason # 1: Lack of experience

As impressive as Tiedemann’s rise over the last year has been, it’s worth noting that he didn’t even crack the 80-innings pitched mark across three levels last season. Most of those frames came at the A and High-A levels, so the experience of being at a big-league camp will be huge for Tiedemann’s development. 

Although he’ll be facing higher-caliber hitters over the next few weeks, Tiedemann has the stuff to fare well in many matchups. That doesn’t mean he won’t go through some growing pains along the way, but even a strong camp will still likely land the southpaw in either Double-A or Triple-A at least to start the season.

Reason # 2: The competition

The group of pitchers competing with Tiedemann for the last spot in the starting rotation got a little thinner recently with the shoulder injury to Mitch White. Despite not performing well after being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers, White was considered to be Yusei Kikuchi’s main competition for the fifth starter’s spot, and the shoulder setback will slow down his build-up to a starter’s workload and could take him out of the running. 

Kikuchi is entering the second year of a three-year, $36M contract and it’s hard to think that commitment won’t affect the evaluation. He’ll be given every chance to nail down the final starting job and should be able to do just that with even a decent spring showing. Drew Hutchison, Zach Thompson, and Casey Lawrence were also signed to minor-league deals with invitations to camp. While no one expects that trio to seriously push for a roster spot, all three have starting experience and will be given consideration, especially if injuries continue to mount.

Reason # 3: Service time

Two years ago, Alek Manoah was the talk of the Blue Jays camp. Despite his dominant performance, when injuries to Robbie Ray and Nate Pearson occurred just before the regular season began, T.J. Zeuch and Tanner Roark were included on the initial roster. Manoah continued to mow down pitchers in the minors and made his major-league debut that May.

That would seem to be the soonest that we’ll see Tiedemann. If he has a strong camp, he’ll put himself in a position to be one of the first names considered when a call-up is required. For now, not only is Tiedemann behind Kikuchi and other veterans in the starting pitcher pecking order but there are also older, more seasoned prospects like Yosver Zulueta and Hayden Juenger who will get a look too. Although the ship appears to have sailed on him being a starter, Nate Pearson has also shown up to camp determined to make an impact. 

None of this is an indictment on Tiedemann, who has all the tools to have a long and successful career in the majors. There’s just no rush to have him on the big-league roster right away, and Jays' brass would tell you that the best-case scenario would be for Tiedemann’s MLB career to start later this year or even in 2024. 

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