Blue Jays' top pitching prospect K's 9 over 5 perfect innings

April 30th, 2022

Ricky Tiedemann, the Blue Jays' No. 6 prospect, had to bet on himself to get to where he is now.

Originally a San Diego State commit, Tiedemann tried his hand at the MLB Draft in 2020, but after five rounds, his name wasn't called.

After a long conversation with his brother, Tai, who was drafted by the Rangers in 2016, Ricky opted to switch away from a four-year school to prove that he was ready to turn professional.

"I thought I was ready," Ricky said. "So I bet on myself and wanted to go JUCO for one year, rather than waiting three years at a university."

Tiedemann found a brief home at Long Beach Junior College, but the school cancelled spring sports due to COVID-19. He was on the move again, finding his one-year destination at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, Calif.

As a freshman, Tiedemann pitched in seven games, tossing 38 innings with 60 strikeouts and a 3.55 ERA.

Being selected as the 91st overall pick in the 2021 Draft by the Blue Jays made Tiedemann's sacrifice worth it, and he's looking to prove himself -- and his brother -- right that he can perform at the highest level.

"Honestly, I think that he saw something I didn't see in myself," Tiedemann said. "He saw me being great at the next level and he wanted me to be different compared to everybody else. He wanted me to bet on myself probably more than I did, so he just pushed me and just kept telling me that I have what it takes."

Now Tiedemann is displaying his talents at the Single-A level.

In Friday's 7-0 win for Dunedin, the southpaw racked up a career-high nine strikeouts to accompany a perfect five innings en route to his third win of the season. The career high in punchouts follows three straight outings with eight strikeouts.

Although baseball fans are notoriously disappointed whenever a pitcher working with a perfect game is lifted, Tiedemann has an opportunity to make history in back-to-back starts.

"I know that the coaches and managers have a plan for me and a plan for the guys as well, and they have to follow that no matter what happens," Tiedemann said. "I mean, of course, I wanted to go back out there, but also I want my guys to get their innings as well and show what they have too."

Over his last two starts, Tiedemann has worked a no-hitter and perfect game in 10 scoreless innings of work, allowing no hits in consecutive appearances and no runs in three consecutive outings.

Through four professional appearances, the 19-year-old has given up just two runs over 20 innings (0.90 ERA), while giving up just five hits and fanning 33 batters. Each of Tiedemann's first few starts has been capped at five innings.

The one blunder on his current résumé is the 10 walks, but the small mistakes haven't slowed him down.

"I think it's just overall command ... just being more consistent with [pitches]," Tiedemann said.

His current big league projection, according to MLB Pipeline, is set at 2024. But the 6-foot-4 rookie is the organization's top-ranked pitching prospect. Tiedemann, who believes he's ready for a rapid ascension through the Minor League ranks, could have his trajectory accelerated if his success continues.

"I feel like I can compete at any level. I think I can win at any level," Tiedeman said. "I know that I can compete, but there's definitely always room for improvement, and I definitely know I can improve on a lot more things and get better as a pitcher. I think [the Blue Jays] can see that as well, and they want me to be perfect so that by the time I get there, I'm unstoppable."