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Aces changing places: Vancouver Canadians add two top pitchers but then lose pair as Toronto Blue Jays shuffle farm system

The Province logo The Province 2022-05-21 Steve Ewen
Vancouver Canadians pitcher Trent Palmer is moving up to the next level in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. © Provided by The Province Vancouver Canadians pitcher Trent Palmer is moving up to the next level in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

When the Toronto Blue Jays slotted pitching prospects Ricky Tiedemann and Yosver Zulueta with the Vancouver Canadians last week, you expected there was going to be a corresponding move.

That transaction came Saturday, as the C’s announced right-handers Adam Kloffenstein and Trent Palmer had been promoted to the double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Vancouver has 29 players on its roster, including 15 pitchers.  

Palmer was slated to start for Vancouver on Sunday afternoon at Nat Bailey Stadium in the high-A Northwest League team’s final game of a six-game series with the Tri-City Dust Devils.

Tiedemann, who’s a 19-year-old left-hander, is Toronto’s No. 6 prospect , according to mlb.com . Zulueta, who’s a 24-year-old righty, is No. 19.   The 21-year-old Kloffenstein comes in at No. 11, while the 23-year-old Palmer sits at No. 23.  

Tiedemann gave up two hits and one earned run in 4 2/3 innings, and received a no decision in a 4-3 win over Tri-City on Friday at The Nat in his Vancouver debut. He struck out nine and walked two. Zulueta debuted Thursday with the C’s and gave up three hits and no earned runs in five innings, and received a no decision in a 7-6 loss in 12 innings to Tri-City. He struck out eight and walked one.  

The 6-foot-5, 243 pound Kloffenstein was in his third season with Vancouver. He had made 42 starts with the C’s combined. A 2018 third-round Toronto draft pick out of a Magnolia, Texas, high school, Kloffenstein first played in Vancouver in 2019, when the C’s were still a short-season, single-A club.  

The entire 2020 minor league season was cancelled due to COVID-19, and the minors were remade ahead of 2021, including the C’s and five of their traditional rivals being promoted to high-A. Kloffenstein was assigned to a Vancouver team that wound up playing the whole year based out of Hillsboro, Ore., due to cross-border travel restrictions.  

Kloffenstein, who went 7-7 with a 6.22 ERA in 23 starts a season ago, was reassigned to the C’s to start this season. So far, he’s 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in six starts. He’s given up 28 hits in 26 innings, while striking out 30 and walking 10.

 Adam Kloffenstein went 7-7 with a 6.22 earned run average in 23 starts last season. © Jason Payne Adam Kloffenstein went 7-7 with a 6.22 earned run average in 23 starts last season.

The 6-foot-1, 230 pound Palmer was Toronto’s third-round pick in 2020 out of Jacksonville University. He was in his first season with Vancouver and was 1-2, with a 4.18 ERA, in six starts with the C’s. He had struck out 36 and walked eight in 23 2/3 innings and gave up 28 hits over that span.

Palmer is from hockey-mad Minnesota and talked last week about how he was enjoying the NHL playoffs. It made being based in Vancouver a particular fit for him.  

“Besides your MLB playoffs, I think hockey playoffs are far better than the playoffs in any other sport,” Palmer, who grew up in Anoka, Minn., said then. “There’s no down time in hockey. Your down time is the intermissions. I don’t know why even more people don’t love the game.  

“I’m sure with Edmonton and Calgary going at it that the restaurants and bars around here are going to be filled.”

The 6-foot-4, 220 pound Tiedemann was Toronto’s 2021 third-round pick out of Golden West College in Huntington Beach, Calif. According to mlb.com, Tiedemann has a fastball that sits in the 95 to 96 m.p.h. range and sometimes touches higher. The Long Beach, Calif., native teams it with a circle change and a slider.

The 6-foot-1, 190 pound Zulueta signed with the Jays as an international free agent out of Cuba for US$1 million in 2019. He had Tommy John surgery in 2020 and then suffered a season-ending knee injury covering first base against the lone batter he faced in a 2021 game with single-A Dunedin.

According to mlb.com, Zulueta’s fastball sits at 99 m.p.h. and “is one of the very best pitches in the organization.” As well, his “curveball looks like a secondary pitch that could be reliable at the major league level while his change-up lags behind, but he’s recently also added a slider that the Blue Jays like.”

SEwen@postmedia.com

Twitter: @SteveEwen

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