Q&A: Tiedemann on The Weeknd, Call of Duty and his 5 (!) older brothers

April 13th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Keegan Matheson’s Blue Jays Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

By now, you know 's name.

He’s the No. 1 prospect in the Blue Jays’ system, skyrocketing from a relative unknown at this time last year to one of the most exciting young pitchers in the sport.

There’s a cool, breezy nature to the 20-year-old, though, one that adds a perfect balance to what you see on the mound as he attacks hitters and cuts them down.

Ahead of his 2023 debut with Double-A New Hampshire, get to know a little more about Ricky Tiedemann the person:

MLB.com: People know you now. There’s more media, more tweets, more attention. How are you dealing with that?

Tiedemann: “I think it’s pretty special to be young and seeing this attention, but I try not to get into it. I just want to go day by day, do what I like to do, and let that stuff stir itself. I don’t really look at it, but you see it. Social media is part of your brand now, though, so you’re going to see things no matter what. Just don’t take anything to heart. If it’s positive, like it. If it’s negative, let it go.”

MLB.com: Think back to high school. How have you changed as a person?

Tiedemann: “In high school, I wasn’t as open. Being out here with a lot of guys from all across the country and across the world, you open up a lot to what they bring and how they go about their business. They talk to other people and hang out with everybody. I’ve opened up to others. Before, in high school, I was a little bit sheltered and didn’t do too much. Now I’m out here trying to get to know everybody. It’s fun for me. It’s a big difference.”

MLB.com: What kind of kid were you when you were even younger?

Tiedemann: “I was the fun kid, for sure. I was energetic, always, and the youngest in my family. I have five older brothers …”

MLB.com: Five older brothers! What’s that like?

Tiedemann: “It was definitely a competitive household. Being the youngest, you’re going to hear it from everybody else. I love it. I love all my brothers. They’ve all taught me things growing up. They all keep me humble, that’s for sure.”

MLB.com: Growing up with your brothers, what’s the one video game you would beat each other up over?

Tiedemann: “Oh, dude. Me and my brothers always played Call of Duty, always played Madden and always played MLB The Show. Beat each other up over, though? Madden. My older brother would kill me every game. He put me into retirement. I haven’t played Madden in five to 10 years. I couldn’t win.”

MLB.com: Your mother seems to be an incredible part of your life, as well. What has she meant to you as a young man?

Tiedemann: “Always. Every day. When I come out here, that’s what I’m doing it for. It’s about my parents, my family and my friends, but especially my mom. What she’s done for me, you can’t take any of that for granted. I’m so happy she’s as supportive as she is. It’s such a good thing, and I love her for that.”

MLB.com: Family dinner at the Tiedemann house, who’s cooking and what’s on the menu?

Tiedemann: “Everybody’s contributing, that’s for sure. Especially my brothers and my parents, that’s for sure. Me and my brother that also plays baseball (Tai Tiedemann), we stick to the side because we don’t do too much of it. Everybody helps, though. It’s definitely a teamwork thing.”

MLB.com: It’s an off day ... You get a cheat meal or have to cook. What are you eating?

Tiedemann: “It’s a lot easier now because they provide meals. Even if you don’t want to eat that, there’s DoorDash nowadays so guys are abusing that all day, every day in the Minor Leagues. I try not to waste money on that and try to eat what the team gives you. … It’s scattered everywhere. I was back in Vancouver, and there was a McDonald’s right across the street. I gained like 20 pounds. I was like 240 in Vancouver. It was a little cooler in Vancouver compared to Dunedin, so when I got moved up I thought I could eat the same and still be fine. But we’re good now.”

MLB.com: What’s your warmup song this year?

Tiedemann: “I’m going to keep it the same. I’ve had 'Californication' since last year. It’s different. Guys are going rap and hip-hop. I’m a hip-hop and rap guy myself, but I want to be a little bit different.”

MLB.com: Who are your hip-hop artists?

Tiedemann: “My favorite artist right now, just an all-time great, is The Weeknd. He’s a certain vibe. I mess with a lot of rappers and a lot of R&B guys, also, but The Weeknd for sure.”

MLB.com: That’s scoring you some points in Toronto.

Tiedemann: “I like Drake, too, but I definitely listen to The Weeknd on a daily basis.”

MLB.com: Thinking back, was there one coach who impacted you as a person?

Tiedemann: “All of my coaches growing up had a huge impact on where I am now. Not only were they my coaches, they’re all my family members, now. Being able to talk to them about things, then going back home in the offseason and seeing all of these people that helped me get to where I am, it’s just an amazing thing. I thank God for it. My travel ball coach taught me how to throw a changeup when I was 9 years old, and I’ve never gripped a changeup differently ever since. Those guys taught me how to pitch, how to be a baseball player and how to carry myself. They’re all part of my family.”

MLB.com: When you finally get a full off day, what are you doing with your free time?

Tiedemann: “The biggest thing I do is try to get a group of guys together. I try to hang out with them as much as I can. I’m not the guy who likes to stay in by himself. Even if we’re just sitting in the room talking, that’s my best night, when we’re just chilling out. We don’t even have to do much, just having the guys together and building that team chemistry is my biggest thing.”