The Jays Journal staff return with our yearly rankings of Toronto’s top 30 prospects. #20 goes to lefty first baseman and power bat Rowdy Tellez.
Name: Rowdy Tellez
Position: 1B/DH Age: 23
Height: 6’4″ Weight: 220 lbs
Throws: Left Bats: Left
Acquired: 30th round of the 2013 MLB Draft
Coming into 2018, Baseball America ranked Rowdy Tellez as #29 in the Blue Jays system. Tellez spent most of this season in Triple-A with the Buffalo Bisons, but got called up with the Jays on September 5th to make his major league debut. In 112 games of Triple-A this year, Tellez produced a slash line of .270/.340/.425, which is a huge improvement from 2017.
After he made his debut with the Jays, Tellez saw 23 games of action and hit .314/.329/.614, which is pretty good for a first month of baseball, adding four homers, as well as 14 RBI’s during the short time. Obviously his average won’t stay this high, at least expectations aren’t that he’ll hit this well forever, and he still has some things to develop. So let’s take a look at what he’s got.
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First and foremost, Tellez needs to work on his at bats. As you can tell by his average to on-base percentage, he doesn’t walk a whole ton. He gets on base with almost purely his bat. In the big leagues he swung at nearly half of the pitches he saw, and when a pitch is outside of the strike zone, he swings at 39% of the pitches outside of the zone.
He does have a good eye as to where the ball is going. With all the pitches he swings at, about 71% of them make contact. And if it’s in the strike zone, he has an 86% chance of making contact. For the outside it’s a little tougher for him, but he’s still making contact with 51% of his swings.
In terms of how he spreads out the ball when he makes contact, it’s pretty good. Tellez as a lefty, pulls the ball about 42% of the time. But he also distributes it to centre and left field pretty frequently as well, with centre being where 30% of his hits go, and left getting 28%. In that way, Tellez spreads the ball around the field nicely.
Tellez has some pretty decent power. Nothing too overwhelming, but Fangraphs give him a 50 power tool with the potential for it to be a 55, and 60 for raw power. This gives him pretty good potential, even if it’s not elite.
Tellez showed this power off with his four home runs in his few games with the team, as well as throughout his minor league career. The one-bagger hit 13 home runs last year with Buffalo, and in 2016 he hit 23.
Tellez is a first basemen which means speed isn’t really his greatest asset. Fangraphs have him at a 40 for speed, which is below average but it is expected for someone at his position.
He did manage to steal seven bases last year in the minors, and his numbers for steals have slowly grown. That said, I wouldn’t expect him to take too many bases during his time with Toronto.
As a first baseman. Tellez is a pretty good fielder. During 2018 Tellez had 63 assists in 124 games. As well as having a .984 fielding percentage.
At first base Tellez’s job is to field the few ground balls that come to him, as well as digging out throws from infielders around the diamond, and he’s shown adequate ability at the risk. His fielding tool is 40 with the potential of 45, so he’s pretty average at it.
Tellez has the value to be the first basemen for the foreseeable future. Or at least until someone better comes along. Until then, Tellez has earned his spot on the roster for the Toronto Blue Jays, and should be proud of what he has been able to achieve for the team.
Expect to see Tellez competing for the 25-man roster come opening day. Especially considering that Toronto isn’t too deep in the position he plays right now. It’s just Tellez and Justin Smoak.