By: Brian Frank
Ricky Tiedemann made his Triple-A debut Friday night in the Bisons 9-2 victory over the Norfolk Tides. Tiedemann, the Blue Jays top ranked prospect, and minor-league baseball’s 31st ranked overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was promoted to Buffalo from the New Hampshire Fisher Cats this week.
The hard throwing left-hander said he tried to stay levelheaded prior to his Triple-A debut in front of a large Fan Appreciation Night crowd of 10,244.
“I tried to treat it the same before the game,” he said, “but of course it’s my first game in Triple-A so I’ve got to have a little bit of a feeling there. But I just wanted to stay comfortable, do the same routine that I’ve had from Low-A to Double-A, just keep it all the same and go out there and do the job.”
Tiedemann during his Bisons debut. Photo Credit: Brian Frank, The Herd Chronicles
The first batter Tiedemann faced in Triple-A was the number one ranked prospect in all of baseball – Jackson Holliday. He retired the sweet-swinging lefty on a groundout to short. The two would square off again in the third inning, with Tiedemann once again coming out on top, striking Holliday out on a nasty 3-and-2 slider.
“He’s the number one guy, so you’ve got to go in there with focus and try to attack him early because if you don’t he’s going to pick you apart,” Tiedemann said. “I think I did well with getting ahead and staying ahead and not letting him get too comfortable. I’m happy with that today, but I know he’s a good hitter and we’ll definitely have many more matchups.”
The Tides were able to scratch out an unearned run in the first inning, when Tiedemann walked Connor Norby with one out. Norby advanced to third when Colton Cowser grounded a single up the middle and scored when Cowser stole second, and catcher Max McDowell lost the ball while transferring it from his glove to his throwing hand, allowing Norby to race home with the game’s first run as the ball trickled behind home plate.
“I mean probably a little bit of nerves, you know?,” Bisons manager Casey Candaele said of the two runners Tiedemann allowed to reach in the first inning. “First start in Triple-A and he was a little bit excited. But then everything calmed down and he settled in. The last two innings he threw were just tremendous.”
After the run scored, Tiedemann struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
In the second inning, Josh Lester led off with a single. But Addison Barger made a terrific play in right field when he caught a line drive for the second out and fired to first to double up the runner who’d strayed too far off the base to end the inning.
“I loved it,” Tiedemann said of Barger’s amazing play. “Those are the plays us pitchers need when we’re struggling in the zone. Those really keep us in good energy and positivity going into the next inning. I think he did that amazingly on that play. That was really helpful.”
Tiedemann cruised through the third and fourth innings, striking out four of six batters, while allowing only a harmless single that was erased on a caught stealing. He ended up firing 75 pitches over four innings, allowing an unearned run on two hits and two walks, while striking out six.
“It felt good,” Tiedemann said. “I think early on I needed to get a little more comfortable with the zone and pitch sequencing. The zone’s a little bit different here so I had to get used to it a little bit. I mean I think I got a little more comfortable in the third and fourth compared to the first and second. So I’m happy with that and just have to keep it going.”
Firing another strike. Photo Credit: Brian Frank, The Herd Chronicles
His manager was impressed with the young hurler’s outing.
“He did a great job,” Candaele said. “He went after hitters. His fastball was jumping and his slider was good. He’s got a great changeup, which he pulled out later in the game – which was impressive. A three pitch mix – and he did a good job for his debut in Triple-A.”
The next step for Tiedemann is to report to the Arizona Fall League after the Bisons season ends on Sunday. His goal is to get some more innings under his belt after he lost over two months earlier this season to a forearm injury.
“I think the higher ups in the organization want to see me get deeper into games and add more innings,” he explained. “Especially for next year – be more comfortable with higher amounts of innings.”
The 21-year-old is happy with how his season ended, after getting 10 minor-league starts in after returning from his injury – and advancing all the way the way to Triple-A.
“I think being able to end the year on a good note when it comes to coming in every week and being able to get your innings,” he said. “I think that was huge for me, especially because I was bouncing back from injury. I’m happy with how I ended the year even though some outings are iffier than others. But it’s all about getting comfortable again and bringing that into next year strong.”