Barger, Tiedemann just the tip of the iceberg in Blue Jays' MiLB system

April 4th, 2024

Down on the farm, the stakes are high.

The Blue Jays didn’t have a strong 2023 season on the prospect front, with injuries on top of poor performance. The system wasn’t without its success stories, of course, most notably Davis Schneider, but this summer feels extremely important.

The big league club could either be pushing for a deep postseason run or pivoting; both scenarios require a strong farm system. Where is that next core? Where is the next surprise story coming from? Who is the next Schneider? The next Ricky Tiedemann? The next Bo Bichette?

Here’s how the affiliates look to open 2024:

Triple-A Buffalo Bisons

Player to Watch: 3B/RF Addison Barger (No. 6)
There are a half-dozen options here in a stacked lineup, but Barger is hitting the ball hard early, and his profile of playing third base and right field leaves him multiple pathways to the big leagues. No. 2 prospect Orelvis Martinez brings more upside and some of the best power in the organization, but Barger’s ceiling is still exciting if he can get hot at the right time. There’s some chaos to his game, but there’s also some “wow” to it on the right day.

Pitcher to Watch: LHP Ricky Tiedemann (No. 1)
Who else? Tiedemann has put himself in a great position physically and should have something in the neighborhood of 110 innings to work with this season. At his best, Tiedemann can absolutely overwhelm hitters -- now the Blue Jays want to see him do more than just survive on his stuff alone. The gifted lefty could make a push for the Majors by June if all goes well.

Other Top 30 prospects on the roster: 2B Orelvis Martinez (No. 2), SS Leo Jimenez (No. 5), 3B/1B Damiano Palmegiani (No. 14), RHP Chad Dallas (No. 15), 1B Spencer Horwitz (No. 16), RHP Connor Cooke (No. 19)

Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Projected)
Opening Day: April 5, 6:35 p.m. ET, at Binghamton

Player to Watch: OF Alan Roden (No. 7)
Roden had a shot to open at Triple-A but will instead work for a midseason promotion. The on-base machine is working to add power this season and has quickly put himself on the edge of the big leagues. An MLB debut in 2024 isn’t out of the question, especially if there’s an injury on the Blue Jays that requires more than just a quick fix.

Pitcher to Watch: RHP CJ Van Eyk (No. 17)
Mentioned frequently this spring as one of the most exciting players in camp, the 2020 second-rounder is finally back in a groove after Tommy John surgery. He’s throwing two shapes of a fastball now and will start, but there’s also some enticing reliever upside here. Van Eyk is a good pick to break out.

High-A Vancouver Canadians (Projected)
Opening Day: April 5, 6:35 p.m. PT, at Spokane

Player to Watch: OF Dasan Brown (No. 26)
Brown stepped forward in 2022, then back in ‘23. It’s time for the Blue Jays to see what they have in this incredibly athletic young outfielder. If Brown can do just enough at the plate, his speed and defense will make him a big leaguer.

Pitcher to Watch: LHP Kendry Rojas (No. 10)
Rojas has spent a few seasons generating buzz as a high-upside project in the lower levels, but after two seasons with Single-A Dunedin, it’s time for a challenge. Rojas’ velocity has ticked up, so the next challenge will be sustaining that through games and months. The upside is there, though, and Rojas is on the short list of pitching prospects who could really pop in 2024.

Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays (Projected)
Opening Day: April 5, 6:35 p.m. ET, vs. Lakeland

Player to Watch: SS Arjun Nimmala (No. 3)
The Blue Jays’ first-rounder from 2024 has the offensive talent to dream on and more polish than most hitters his age. In a system that needs to develop another star, all eyes are on Nimmala and his massive upside.

Pitcher to Watch: LHP Brandon Barriera (No. 4)
It sounds like everything is in the right place for Barriera physically, and after he flashed some 96-97 mph pitches in camp, there’s excitement behind the 2022 first-rounder again. He’s a candidate to move quickly to Vancouver if all goes well.