Whilst it’s obvious that the Toronto Blue Jays are in ‘win now’ mode, they still have a lot of players to be excited about in their minor league system.
Two of those players were named on MLB Pipeline’s top ten left-handed pitcher prospects list on Tuesday.
Both Ricky Tiedemann and Brandon Barriera have been attracting attention in the dark corners of prospect Twitter, and it seems that they’re heading towards a bright future. Tiedemann was named as the second-best left handed prospect on Jim Callis’ list, behind only Kyle Harrison of the San Francisco Giants, and Barriera came in ninth.
Neither of the prospects are expected to break into the majors this season, having been drafted in the last two years, but Tiedemann could certainly make the case for a spot on Toronto’s major league roster in the very near future. The 20-year-old is one of the Jays’ highest touted prospects having risen from Dunedin through to Double-A New Hampshire during the course of the 2022 season.
Callis says that Tiedemann’s fastball has the most effective sink out of any of the top ten lefty prospects, something which helped him pitch to a very impressive K% at all three levels he played at in 2022. However, it’s the Californian’s changeup which earns the biggest superlatives. Described as a pitch that ‘tumbles and fades’, Tiedemann’s mid-80s changeup perfectly complements his 95-97mph fastball and should serve as a dangerous weapon when he makes it to the show.
In a limited 11 inning sample at the Double-A level, the former third-round pick showed his ability to draw ground balls, with a ground ball-to-fly ball rate of 2.17 and a ground ball percentage of 62. There are plenty of positives, and the Jays front office must be optimistic that Tiedemann will continue his rapid development, either for use as a trade chip or as a future big league starter.
Barriera was the 23rd overall pick in last year’s draft, straight out of American Heritage High School in Florida. According to MLB.com, his stuff is ‘electric’ with a slider that can beat the bat and a solid changeup.
It remains to be seen how Barriera will adjust to the pro-game, but the break on the ball in the clip below is clearly part of the reason why Challis chose to rate him so highly in this list.
With these two, and countless others coming through the system, the future might be as bright as the present.