It’s the time of year where people say “trade your prospects!”
It’s true that the vast majority of minor leaguers don’t make the major leagues, especially not as an impact player. However, there are some prospects that everyone knows will make an impact. For example, the Jays have at least two of those players in Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Bo Bichette.
There’s a case for ace pitcher Alek Manoah as well, but it wasn’t as evident until his three Triple A starts in 2021, where ya, he had “it”.
Ricky Tiedemann is likely another one of these prospects, and should not be traded. There are certain players which yes, one for one in a vacuum, it makes since. For example, Shohei Ohtani with an extension, perhaps even Corbin Burnes or another pitcher of his calibre.
However, those trades are unrealistic, as well as the random Jon Morosi rumour from Monday evening, aren’t based in reality. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jays were looking at Bryan Reynolds, but the likelihood of Ricky Tiedemann being in that trade is less than 1% in my opinion.
Tiedemann’s incredible 2022:
The 20-year-old (who was 19 years old for the majority of the season) was drafted 91st overall in the 2021 draft, and made his pro debut this past season with the Dunedin Blue Jays. Let’s look at his statistics from every level he pitched in this past season.
In 30 innings pitched with the Low A Dunedin Blue Jays, Tiedemann had a 1.80 ERA and 2.09 FIP. While his 44.5 K% was the highest at any level this season, his BB% was on the rather high side at 11.8%. In Low A, Tiedemann was three years younger than the average pitcher, so how did he fare after he was promoted?
Pretty darn good. With the High A Vancouver Canadians, he had a 2.39 ERA and 2.92 FIP in 37.2 innings pitched. His K% only decreased to 36% (which is still well above average), while his BB% dropped to 8%. Despite being -4.2 years younger than the average of the league, he once again dominated.
Tiedemann pitched as a 19-year-old in Double A, where he posted a 2.45 ERA and 2.23 FIP in 11 innings pitched. Despite being -5.5 years younger than the average pitcher in Double A, Tiedemann struck out 34.1% of batters, despite AA batters having more experience.
Tiedemann was one of only four pitchers that pitched in Double A with his age ending in “teen”, with the other three being Eury Pérez, Cristian Mena, and Andrew Painter. So yeah, that’s a pretty darn good group of pitchers right there.
However, I’ve been told this quote before: “Stats only tell us about the past, not the future.” So that begs the question, what does Tiedemann bring to the table which gives him an ace ceiling?
What has really stood out to me while watching Tiedemann this season, is the fact that he has “it”. Call “it” what you want (another phrase is he has that dawg in him), but Tiedemann has the personality to be an ace starting pitcher, just like Alek Manoah. Let’s look at some examples where Tiedemann had the dawg in him.
After five starts in High A, Tiedemann was rocking an incredible 0.38 ERA and 1.72 FIP in 23.2 innings pitched. His K% sat at 38.9%, while his 5.6 BB% was also pretty fantastic. However, over his next three starts, he posted a 5.79 ERA, 4.95 FIP with a 31.7 K% and an 11.7 BB%. At this point, I felt as if the Jays didn’t need to be aggressive and promote him to Double A, but they did anyway.
You already know his stats in Double A, which are pretty insane considering the fact he was a 19-year-old for the first three. However, he had one not so great game. In his second start with the Fisher Cats, he allowed four hits, giving up three earned runs while only striking out two. He looked hittable.
So how did he finish out his last two starts? He literally didn’t allow another run, in fact, he didn’t allow another hit. He faced 19 batters in six innings pitched while striking out seven in that time frame. The fact he that rebounded from looking hittable, to throwing no-hit baseball over six innings in his last two starts is amazing. Add in the fact that he was significantly younger than the average pitcher in Double A, and it’s quite impressive.
It sort of reminds me of how Manoah forced the issue in early 2021. Manoah had only pitched 18 innings with the Buffalo Bisons, but in those three starts, he just allowed a single run, struck out 40.9% of batters and literally hit more batters than he walked. After just 35 innings pitched in the minors, only playing Short A ball and Triple A, Alek Manoah was promoted to the big leagues. You know the rest of the story.
A pitcher having the dawg in him isn’t quite a quantifiable statistic, but personality matters to scouts and organizations. Tiedemann has the same “it” factor as Manoah, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him in the big leagues next season.
I guess we should also discuss his stuff.
Last season in the majors, only five left-handed starting pitchers threw a fastball that averaged 95 mph or higher. Tiedemann (who didn’t pitch in the majors) also did that. The fact of the matter is that a left-handed starting pitcher who throws as hard as Tiedemann is rare as hell. The highest measurable velocity I was able to find was 98.2 mph (his fastball also has a ton of movement) but I’ve heard he’s hit 100 mph.
This doesn’t even mention his two other pitches. His slider has a ton of sweep and is his best secondary pitch, with the highest clocked spin rate at 2835 RPM (which is very good). The circle changeup is still under development, but it’s already looking at least average as it stands, with the possibility of becoming a plus pitch.
Not just that, but he’s 6’4 and hasn’t completely filled out his frame. He’s also pretty damn athletic. So yeah, 2023 Tiedemann will be scary. In fact, as I was writing this, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith tweeted out that “a longtime baseball person see Tiedemann as a potential impact arm [for next season].”
I reckon that he’s nearly untouchable, and the Jays should think long and hard about trading him.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D.