Lately Rowdy Tellez has been getting more consistent at-bats, and even against left-handed pitching. That’s a wise decision for the rebuilding Blue Jays.
Sometimes I feel like a bit of a broken record, but that’s because I’m also trying to consistently remind myself what this season is all about for the Toronto Blue Jays. It’s the first year of a rebuild, and it’s all about letting their young players grow, and evaluating which will be a part of the long-term future.
Part of that process is letting new big leaguers work through their struggles, and sometimes that means doing things that may not necessarily make sense in the present.
A good example of what I mean is Charlie Montoyo‘s use of Rowdy Tellez against left-handed starting pitchers lately. The other night it wasn’t hard to find folks questioning why Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was resting while Tellez was the DH, but there are more reasons than just the 20-year-old needing a night off.
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Simply put, Tellez needs the opportunity to hit against southpaws, especially if he’s going to develop into a full-time big leaguer. It’s hard enough to convince teams to fully value the slugger at first base like they used to, let alone if he’s been pigeon-holed into a platoon situation.
It’s been a small sample size, but so far Tellez has fared just fine against lefties. He entered Friday night’s game having gone 5-16 (.313 batting average) against lefties (and went 1-4 against Mike Minor) and has slashed .235/.316/.500 against righties in 68 at-bats. Again, that’s not a big enough sample size to draw many conclusions from, except that Tellez doesn’t look lost against same-side pitching.
It was also a small sample for him last year in Toronto, but he hit .400 against righties last year in 50 at-bats, while he went just 2-20 against lefties. He was only with the team for a total of 23 games and made just 17 starts, but it’s still one thing that pops off the page from his successful cameo last fall.
With a talented infield crop in their minor league pipeline it’ll be important for Tellez to perform as a middle of the order type of hitter, even against left-handed pitching. The Blue Jays could always build their roster with the flexibility to use those days as the rest that he’ll need throughout the year, but it can’t be a situation that’s avoided.
To that end, it’s great to see that Montoyo is giving him that opportunity and that so far he’s handled the task just fine.