The Blue Jays had hoped that a short stay in Buffalo would cure what’s been ailing Rowdy Tellez lately, but so far he’s struggled in Triple-A as well.
The Blue Jays haven’t been afraid to use their minor league system to get a struggling young player back on track this season, and that’s exactly what they did with Rowdy Tellez about a week ago.
The hope was that Tellez would head to Buffalo and beat up on Triple-A pitching for a couple of weeks, building confidence and quickly returning to Toronto and re-joining the big league team. Even Charlie Montoyo was quoted as saying that he expects Tellez’s stay to be a short one, and that he’ll be a big part of the future plans.
All of that may still happen, but unfortunately Tellez has struggled a bit in his first seven games back in the minor leagues. I’ll admit that when I started out writing about Tellez, I had planned on talking about how things have been working out for him in Buffalo, especially after seeing his big blast on Friday night. Unfortunately though, that’s about the only highlight he’s had since being demoted.
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The big-swinging first baseman entered Sunday’s game just 5-21 during this stint in Triple-A, with the home run as his only extra-base hit. That’s not horrific by any means, but you’d hope to see him beating up on the pitching at a lower level. He then went 0-5 on Sunday as well, bringing it to a total of 5-26, just under the Mendoza line.
The more troubling part is that he’s also struck out eight times in those 26 at-bats, and has yet to take a walk. One of the reasons Montoyo pointed to for Tellez’s demotion was that he was swinging at bad pitches, and it doesn’t look like he’s been a whole lot more selective in his first handful of games.
Now that I’ve said all that, I really do think it’s foolish to read too much into seven games. The 24-year-old could get hot tomorrow and be back in Toronto by the end of the month. That opportunity could happen for him either way if the Blue Jays end up trading Justin Smoak, who is on an expiring contract and is one of the better hitters available on the trade market, even in a bit of a down year for the switch-hitter.
It would be nice to see Tellez get rolling again soon, especially because he’s shown the ability to be an asset in a big league lineup. He hit several timely home runs earlier in the season, and is still among the rookie leaders with 14 on the season, but he’ll need to improve on his slash line of .227/.280/.436 in order to stick at the highest level.
June 20: 1-5 (2 K)
June 19: 1-4 (HR, 3 RBI, 2 K)
June 18: 2-3 (K)
June 17: 0-4 (K)
June 16: 1-4
July 15: 0-1