With their third-round pick in the 2021 Draft, the Blue Jays selected LHP Ricky Tiedemann 91st overall from Golden West College, a junior college in California. His brother Tai is in the Ranger Farm System, a 6’6 ″ RHP who was an 8th round in 2016 also at California Junior University.
Few of the rookies were probably more negatively affected in baseball terms by the circumstances of 2020 than Tiedemann, between closing his high school season when he and the draft were shortened to just five rounds. By the previous summer, it had grown a few inches and added speed, in the 90s, to the classic high school throw profile that generates interest in helium and draft.
This was only helped by a strong performance at a premium showcase tournament, the WWBA in Jupiter, Fla. In October. But all of that momentum suddenly stopped, made worse by the shorter draft that reduced players with increasing abilities in favor of players who had established a larger baseline. He ended up pulling out of San Diego State in favor of the junior college route, transferring again when his top pick canceled his baseball schedule.
Over the past year or so, Tiedemann hasn’t been surprisingly filled, dropping from 6’4 ″ / 195 to 220 listed. The hope would be that this continues, and it makes further speed gains by sitting down in the low 80s, to go with the feel of a shift and a slider. This is clearly a development project for the Jays, starting with more consistency, but the building blocks are there to make an impact in the big league.
Since the Shapiro / Atkins regime began for the 2016 Draft, the Jays have taken on two junior college pitchers in the first 10 rounds (and none beyond with bonuses that counted against the pool): Kyle Weatherly (8th round, 2016) and Nate Pearson (1st round, 2017). Both were juniors just under 22, which set them apart from other college players only by where they played. Not only does it break new ground in that regard, but as Tiedemann feels a bit like a high school draft pick, the Jays have been reluctant to draft them as well.
The location value for the 91dt pick is $ 650,000, and it wouldn’t be surprising that it took well overslot dollars to sign it, given the reasonable potential of the first day of last year. and ranking up to 68th place on the Fangraphs Board. In the absence of a second round pick, it’s a good game upside down where if all goes well, the Jays could end up with a player who would go to the first round as a varsity junior.