For all of the hyped rookies in the Blue Jays’ system, Rowdy Tellez has not only held his own, he’s slugged his way into job security, now and in the future.
For as frustrating as the Blue Jays can be to watch some nights, there are still a couple of players that make me stop what I’m doing and pay attention every time they come to the plate, regardless of the score. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. being one of those two is probably obvious.
However, I’ve found it almost equally as exciting to watch Rowdy Tellez this season, especially when he comes to the plate in a meaningful moment. He delivered in one of those moments again last night, hitting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom of the 12th when the Jays were down to their final out. Unfortunately, they still lost in the 13th inning, but Tellez gave them a chance with his heroics.
He’s almost been making a habit out of coming through in those situations, and even when the pressure isn’t as high he’s been performing at a very good clip. So far this season he’s slashing .254/.310/.486 with nine home runs and 25 RBI in 142 at-bats. It’s still a relatively small sample size, but he performed well last fall during his September cup of coffee in the big leagues as well.
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In fact, if you combine his .314/.329/.614 slash line in 73 at-bats from 2018 with what he’s done so far this year, he’s hitting .274 with a .844 OPS in his first 65 games at the highest level, already collecting 13 home runs, 15 doubles, and 39 RBI. That’s solid production from an established veteran, let alone a rookie that’s still adjusting to the league.
It’s no secret that the Blue Jays have one of the more talented and exciting minor league systems in baseball right now, as we hear about the future in Toronto with guys like Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and more all the time. Because of all of that hype and a tough 2017 season, Tellez has been a bit of a forgotten man at times, and someone that I’ll even admit that I wasn’t sure would fit into the long-term plans with this rebuild. With every game I watch him play, I realize that I was very wrong to ever think that way, and Tellez could be one of the better young offensive assets this organization has right now.
His left-handed power definitely plays in the big leagues, he’s managed to hit southpaws just fine (he’s actually hitting .314 against lefties so far) so he shouldn’t be a platoon guy in the future, and it’s clear that he’s a pretty loveable character. The fans have embraced him, it’s obvious that he’s well liked in the dugout, and he’s giving us all a reason to pay attention, even in a lost game.
It’s hard to say where the ceiling will end up being for Tellez’s big league potential, but as long as he can produce the way he has in his first 65 games as a professional, he’ll have no problem fitting on the roster now, or at any time during the rebuild.