Blue Jays holding breath as top prospect arms await diagnosis

April 23rd, 2024

KANSAS CITY -- It feels like the Blue Jays’ top hitting prospects are putting on a show every night, but on the pitching side, the news isn’t nearly as rosy.

The Blue Jays have lost three of their top five pitching prospects to arm injuries over the past two weeks, each of them a gut punch to a system in need of some success stories in 2024. , and are all meeting with doctors this week as the organization holds its breath.

Here’s the latest:

LHP Ricky Tiedemann (No. 1) -- Tiedemann was scheduled to start on Wednesday in Triple-A, but when the day came, he wasn’t out there. Instead, Tiedemann underwent an MRI for “elbow discomfort” and is meeting with the Blue Jays’ team doctors in Toronto.

LHP Brandon Barriera (No. 4) -- Back on April 6, Barriera threw a slider in a Single-A game and stood on the mound, waiting for the ball back from the catcher. It all looked normal ... until Barriera walked off the back of the mound and slammed the ball into the ground. Barriera has an elbow injury and is meeting with Dr. Keith Meister this week.

RHP Landen Maroudis (No. 12) -- Maroudis’ velocity suddenly dipped in a start on Sunday, and after throwing a slider, he called for the training staff. Maroudis is now getting an MRI for what the Blue Jays are calling a forearm injury.

There are so many layers to these injuries. Tiedemann is one of the most gifted young pitchers in the sport and was close enough to help the Blue Jays once he found his groove in Triple-A. Barriera was touching 97 mph early this season and had all the ingredients to be one of the stories of the season in this system after a 2023 shortened by injuries. Maroudis, still just 19, is overflowing with upside, the best bet for “the next Tiedemann” in this system.

There’s nothing rare about pitching injuries, which is becoming one of the biggest conversations in the sport, but this is a particularly rough run for the Blue Jays. We should know more about their diagnosis and treatments over the next week, and while it’s important to not play doctor here, it’s clear that none of these young pitchers are going to be back on a mound tomorrow.

While we wait -- and the Blue Jays hope -- here’s how it impacts the organization.


All eyes are on (No. 9), who is off to a fine start in Double-A with a 3.07 ERA and 17 strikeouts over 14 2/3 innings. Macko got stronger as 2023 went on and finished the season as one of the most exciting pitchers in the system, so now he’ll be challenged to carry that across a full year. There’s fellow lefty (No. 10), too, who looked great in his first start of the season with High-A Vancouver.

This also puts a heightened importance on (No. 15), one of the darlings of this Spring Training, but he’s opened with a 7.85 ERA over four starts in Triple-A. Down in Double-A, CJ Van Eyk (No. 17) has an 8.00 ERA over nine innings, but like Dallas, he did himself some favors in camp and generated some internal buzz.

The injuries have hurt the “quantity” side of this, which is so important to prospect development, so the Blue Jays now need these pitchers to provide the upside at the upper levels while their younger arms develop behind them.


There’s an immediate, more direct impact from Tiedemann’s injury. With Mitch White traded to the Giants and quickly ceding his rotation spot to , the Blue Jays’ starting pitching depth doesn’t look as strong as it did a month ago. The Blue Jays would love to see Dallas put himself into that picture by mid-season, but for now, they’ll need to prove he’s a reliable big league option once again.

There are long-term implications with these prospects development, of course, depending on whether these are short-term or long-term injuries. That answer could also determine how much these impact the Blue Jays at the Trade Deadline, when this organization could be looking to load up and will need all of the help it can get from a farm system that was ranked 24th in baseball entering the season.