Player: Blade Tidwell
Age: 22 (born June 8, 2001)
Team: Brooklyn Cyclones (South Atlantic League)
Height/weight: 6-4 / 207
Acquired: 2022 Amateur draft, Round 2, 52nd pick. $1,850,000 signing bonus.
Background: The Tennessee native was a name to watch in 2020. But, after a shortened selection process due to the pandemic, Tidwell went undrafted. He stayed close to home, attending the University of Tennessee. In his freshman season he posted a 3.74 ERA and 10 wins, the second most by a freshman in program history, behind former Met, R.A. Dickey. He missed time in his sophomore season with a shoulder injury. Tidwell impressed in 2022 with St. Lucie, tossing 9 2/3 scoreless innings in two postseason appearances and striking out 13 as St. Lucie won the Florida State League championship.
2023 update: Tidwell has begun to settle in nicely during his first full professional season. He hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in his last 10 starts, dating back to May 17. Over that span he holds a 1.73 ERA with 76 strikeouts. His 103 strikeouts rank third and .196 batting average against rank second in the South Atlantic League this season.
What he’s saying: “At the start of the year I was off-speed heavy and I kind of got away from myself. Now I’m trying to focus on establishing my fastball and letting my other pitches play off that and staying in the strike zone. I want to make sure I’m healthy for every start. If I’m healthy I know big things are going to come my way.”
Scouting Report: The Mets top ranked pitching, and fifth ranked overall, prospect in the organization (according to MLB pipeline), features a fastball in the upper 90s and a sweeping slider. He totes a four-pitch mix, integrating a curveball and changeup into his repertoire. He has displayed the ability to pile up strikeouts - his 51 punchouts since the start of June is tied for first among all minor league pitchers, entering his last start.
Favorite team and player growing up: “My favorite team was the Angels, Mike Trout was just stepping onto the scene and I thought I was going to be a position player.”
Tennessee draftees: The Volunteers had five players get their name called in the first four day of the 2022 draft, Drew Gilbert (28, Astros), Jordan Beck (38, Rockies), Trey Lipscomb (84, Nationals) and Ben Joyce (89, Angels). “It was fun to practice and go on the field with those boys every day. It was a great experience, and everybody wanted to win each time out.”
MLB ETA: 2025