Ricky Tiedemann named Opening Day starter for Buffalo Bisons' 2024 season

The Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays have an obvious candidate to get the nod.

Mar 21, 2024; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Tiedemann (70) throws a pitch
Mar 21, 2024; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Tiedemann (70) throws a pitch / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays #No. 1 prospect, Ricky Tiedemann, is getting the Opening Day nod for their Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons.

The 21-year-old lefty made just one start at Triple-A in 2023, throwing 4 scoreless innings against a tough Orioles affiliate. He'll begin his 2024 campaign against the Yankees Triple-A affiliate on Friday, March 29th at 2:05 PM EST.

Tiedemann has the stuff to get outs in the big leagues today but the Jays will want to see him build up and find consistency with his strike throwing before he gets the call. Amid injuries and workload management in the 2023 minor league season, he did not complete 5 innings once and pitched 4 innings just twice. However, he did complete 5 innings in 3/4 of his Arizona Fall League starts.

Now that he's presumably healthy after avoiding a leg inflammation scare in spring training, keep an eye on not just his pitch counts but the consistency of his mechanics. While recovering from arm injuries last year, he had more difficulty finding a consistent release point and staying in the zone then he did previously. He's far removed from those arm injuries now and he'll be looking to get ahead of batters and dictate the course of every at bat.

When he's at his best, he's spotting his fastball all over the zone, landing his sweeping slider for called strikes and to put away hitters, and going to his changeup early and often. There's little question that the stuff is going to play, you don't have 16.8 strikeouts per 9 innings by dumb luck.

Tiedemann's progress and health will likely decide when he gets the call up to the big league team. A realistic expectation would be sometime in the summer or even as a September call-up. But with injury to Alek Manoah and John Schneider name-dropping Tiedemann as "in-the-mix" for a big league spot, the southpaw might get the call sooner than we expect.