Top Blue Jays prospect Ricky Tiedemann gets the Grapefruit League Opener Nod

“Have you seen Ricky Tiedemann? Dude’s built like a Greek god.”

Feb 16, 2024; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Tiedemann (70) works out at Blue
Feb 16, 2024; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Tiedemann (70) works out at Blue / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

According to Mike Wilner of the Toronto Star, top Blue Jays prospect Ricky Tiedemann will get the Grapefruit League spring training opening assignment to start against the Phillies this Saturday.

The lefty phenom improved his stock with an outstanding Arizona Fall League performance, and was was named the 2023 Arizona Fall League’s Pitcher of the Year.

Not only is the 21-year-old the top-ranked prospect here at Jays Journal, but he moved up up from 31st ahead of last season to 22nd on the latest Baseball America rankings, and MLB Pipeline bumped him up from No. 32 last year to No. 29 on their 2024 pre-season top 100 ranking.

For those dabbling in fantasy baseball, our friend at Jays Prospectus notes that few know more about pitching than Nick Pollack; he has Ricky Tiedemann as his #1 non-Japanese pitching prospect for Fantasy Baseball in his latest ranking here, writing that “the moment he appears later this year – who else do [the Jays] have to replace a starter in the rotation? – he’ll be an instant pick-up [in fantasy leagues].”

But it’s a bulked up Tiedemann who’s been turning heads in Dunedin, adding 19 pounds of muscle in the past year to his already imposing 6-foot-4 frame, and throwing easy 96 mph heat in his first spring training session against live hitters.

“The way I feel coming into camp, I feel completely ready to go, where last year was more of a ramp-up,” Tiedemann said to Blue Jays beat reporter Keegan Matheson. “This year, I want to take my time getting into the full go and make sure I’m ready at the right time instead of jumping the gun a little bit.”

While the Blue Jays do have starting pitching depth in Bowden Francis, newly signed Yariel Rodríguez and Mitch White, the chorus calling for Tiedemann to be promoted will only grow louder this spring. After he missed a significant chunk of 2023 dealing with a left biceps injury, he’ll be built up slowly at Triple-A in Buffalo after only 62 innings combined last season, including the AFL.

Tiedemann's not even on the 40-man roster yet because he was drafted in the third round of the 2021 amateur draft, and won’t need to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft until December 2025.

But make no mistake: if and when the Blue Jays need a starter in 2024, with so much riding on their success this season, Ricky Tiedemann is one of the 13 best arms in the organization, and will deserve a shot at the 26-man big league roster. Getting the nod for the first game of spring training will only shine that spotlight brighter on the kid who’s “built like a Greek god.”