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Top 25 Mets Prospects for 2024: Blade Tidwell (11)

Next on our list is a right-handed pitcher.

Amazin Avenue Prospect List

Name: Blade Tidwell

Position: RHP

Born: 6/08/2001

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 205 lbs.

Bats/Throws: R/R

Acquired: 2022 MLB Draft, 2nd Round (University of Tennessee)

2023 Stats: 17 G (17 GS), 81.2 IP, 55 H, 32 R, 28 ER (3.09 ERA), 46 BB, 112 K, .273 BABIP (High-A)/8 G (8 GS), 34.1 IP, 32 H, 18 R, 18 ER (4.72 ERA), 17 BB, 41 K, .329 BABIP (Double-A)

A Tennessee native, Janzen Blade Tidwell helped lead Loretto High School to three straight state tournament appearances, including a TSSAA Class A State Title in 2017 when he was a freshman. A two-way player, he hit .557 with 6 home runs and 15 steals in his junior season in 2019 while going a perfect 8-0 in 53.0 innings pitched, striking out 107. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was not able to play much organized baseball in 2020, his senior year, but it really didn’t matter much, as already had an incredibly array of baseball tools and was considered a high priority follow by scouts and evaluators. He had many suitors, but none were able to meet his pre-draft bonus demands, so he honored his commitment to the University of Tennessee.

The Vols’ Sunday starter, Tidwell led all Tennessee pitchers with 18 starts in 2021, his freshman season. He posted a 3.74 ERA in 98.2 innings, allowing 84 hits, 30 walks, and 90 strikeouts. His ten wins were second in program history for a freshman, behind only R.A. Dickey. Along with current and future teammate Drew Gilbert, he was invited to play with the USA Baseball National Collegiate Team that summer.

A draft-eligible sophomore, Tidwell came into the 2022 season one of the top college pitching prospects in the class, but unfortunately for him, just prior to the start of the season, it was announced that he would miss the start of the season due to a shoulder injury. According to Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello, the right-hander was experiencing soreness in his shoulder stemming from stiffness in the area. It was an ongoing issue that Vols trainers and doctors were aware of and tracking but was healing slowly. It was not severe enough to necessitate surgery to fix but would take time to resolve itself on its own. After missing roughly two months, he returned to the mound in late March and was handled with a light touch, limited to one-inning stints early on before being allowed to throw multiple innings. All in all, he pitched a total of 39.0 innings over 13 appearances and posted a 3.00 ERA with 31 hits allowed, 11 walks, and 51 strikeouts.

He was available when the Mets made their second-round selection and the team picked Tidwell with the 52nd overall pick. Roughly two weeks later, he signed for $1,850,000, a few hundred thousand dollars over the MLB-assigned slot value of $1,474,400. He was assigned to the FCL Mets to begin his professional career in mid-August and was then promoted to the St. Lucie Mets after a single appearance. There, he made four regular season starts and posted a 2.16 ERA in 8.1 innings with 4 hits allowed, 6 walks, and 9 strikeouts. In the postseason, he started game one of the Florida State League Division Series and game two of the Florida State League Championship Series, throwing 9.2 scoreless innings with 5 hits allowed, 2 walks, and 13 strikeouts.

Considered the Mets’ 6th best prospect coming into the 2023 season, expectations were high for the right-hander coming into his first full season, but he did particularly not live up to them. Assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones to start off the season, the right-hander posted a 3.09 ERA in 81.2 innings, allowing 55 hits, walking 46, and striking out 112. He struggled early on, posting a 5.34 ERA in 32.0 innings in April and May with 24 hits allowed, 25 walks, and 46 strikeouts before righting the ship to a degree and posting a 1.63 ERA in 49.2 innings in June and July with 31 hits allowed, 21 walks, and 66 strikeouts. At the beginning of August, he was promoted to Double-A Binghamton and never really got into a groove there. Making 8 starts, he posted a 4.72 ERA in 34.1 innings for the Rumble Ponies with 32 hits allowed, 17 walks, and 41 strikeouts. All in all, he posted a combined 3.57 ERA in 116.0 combined innings in 2023, allowing 87 hits, walking 63, and striking out 153, second-most in the system behind only Dominic Hamel.

At 6’4”, 205-pounds, Tidwell has solid pitching frame. The right-hander has a little bit of violence in his delivery, throwing from a high-three-quarters arm slot with a quick, whippy arm and long action through the back. He is more of a control-over-command pitcher as a result, missing his spots but staying in the strike zone, which explains why he sometimes gets a bit homer prone and allows more hits than a pitcher with his kind of strikeout stuff generally does.

Tidwell can light up radar guns with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s, topping out at 98 MPH. His four-seam fastball has average-to-above-average spin rates with plenty of backspin and ride when thrown up in the zone. His two-seam fastball sits in the same velocity band with arm-side life and sink. He sometimes had trouble maintaining his velocity and can wind up in the low-90s by midgame.

He has a full array of secondary pitches, led by a slider that is graded plus by scouts and evaluators. The pitch sits in the low-to-mid-80s, ranging 80-86 MPH. It features hard, sweepy two-plane break and is used as both a pitch for strikes in the zone and to get batters to chase outside of it. He uses the pitch almost as much as his does his fastball and it has consistently registered a high whiff rate at every level of professional baseball that he has played out.

He rounds out his repertoire with a curveball and a changeup, both of which are less developed than his slider but can be average pitches with a little more refinement. His curveball sits in the mid-70s-to-low-80s, while his changeup sits in the low-to-mid-80s with sink. Both pitches are most effective down in the zone, as they have more vertical than horizontal break and play off of his fastball/slider. All of his secondary pitches tunnel well with his fastball, with his slider at its best sweeping out of the zone and his curveball and changeup dropping below it.

2024 Mets Top 25 Prospects

12) Kevin Parada
13) Jeremy Rodriguez
14) Brandon Sproat
15) Tyler Stuart
16) Ronald Hernandez
17) Alex Ramirez
18) Matt Rudick
19) Colin Houck
20) Stanley Consuegra
21) Joander Suarez
22) Nathan Lavender
23) Boston Baro
24) Layonel Ovalles
25) Nolan McLean