Two of the Blue Jays top pitching prospects are running into early issues in 2024

Even more pitching woes for the Blue Jays?
Mar 21, 2024; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Tiedemann (70)
Mar 21, 2024; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Tiedemann (70) / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Time and time again, we have seen the Toronto Blue Jays shooting themselves in the foot for not having enough pitching depth in the organization. That was because each time they try to look an ideal replacement to one of their injured pitchers on the roster, they always appear to struggle to find a candidate to promote to the big leagues that they can rely on and trust.

Nevertheless, with their recent strong drafting in the past few years, the Jays have started to build up some reliable homegrown pitching talent in the process. Among them include some potential gems that were projected to be big league contributors in the near future. However, for two of the Jays’ top pitching prospects in which they have astronomical hopes for, the start of the 2024 season has not been too kind to them. 

In the case for 2022 first-round pick Brandon Barriera, he exited his first start of the season with the Jays’ Single-A affiliate Dunedin with an apparent arm injury. He experienced discomfort in his pitching arm after throwing a slider and followed it up by spiking the ball in disgust as he left the field with the trainer. There have been no updates on his situation as of yet, but with Barriera having previously dealt with elbow issues last season, seeing him go down again this early in the season is quite worrisome for his long-term prognosis. In 2023, Barriera only saw seven starts in which he went 0-2 with a 3.98 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, along with 25 strikeouts in 20.1 innings pitched. So missing any more time can really hold back his overall growth of his game going forward.

As for the Jays Journal’s No. 1 prospect in the system, Ricky Tiedemann has gotten off to a rough start to his minor league season. After impressing the Jays’ brass during training camp in which it nearly landed him a spot on their Opening Day roster, Tiedemann ultimately began his 2024 year in Triple-A Buffalo. He was decent in his first start where he gave up a run on 3 hits, with a pair of walks and 3 strikeouts in 2.2 innings of work.

However, he completely lost his command in his follow-up outing that saw him walk an uncharacteristic four batters, to go along with yielding 1 hit and 2 runs in just 1.2 innings pitched. He had a similar type of start to his minor league season in 2023 before going down to injury. But Tiedemann came back in the latter parts of the year to finish off strong, posting a 3.68 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, together with a whopping 82 strikeouts in just 44 innings of work. The Jays were certainly hoping that he could carry some of that success into the 2024 season to further his development.

With Barriera and Tiedemann being two of the Jays’ most hyped prospects with the greatest expectations, it will be crucial that they remain healthy and effective in their continual growth and maturation in becoming a major league pitcher down the road. Hopefully, their current adversity that they are both facing is just short-lived and that they will be back on track for their careers in no time, as the Jays will need all the help they can get in the not-so-distant future.