Rowdy’s for real too
If 2020 was a bit of a “make or break” season for Teoscar Hernandez, then Rowdy Tellez was in pretty much the same boat. Thankfully the lefty slugger responded in much the same way.
There were questions about whether or not Tellez would even make the Opening Day roster after Vladimir Guerrero Jr. made the move to first base, but thankfully they were able to find room for his potent bat. Rowdy rewarded the Blue Jays with a shortened breakout season of his own, carving out an important role in the middle of the lineup. Unfortunately he missed the bulk of the stretch run before returning in time for the playoffs, but over 35 games and 113 at-bats he slashed .283/.346/.540 with eight home runs and 23 RBI.
Not only did Tellez provide a legitimate power threat for the middle of the lineup, he gave the Blue Jays some balance with his left-handed bat as well, which turned out to be very important to Charlie Montoyo‘s lineup card this season. With Cavan Biggio as a leadoff hitter, Tellez helps to break up a run of righty hitters that includes Vlad Jr., Bo Bichette, Hernandez, Gurriel Jr., and Grichuk, and that’s a real factor in today’s game, even if I’d argue it’s not as important as the Jays made it in 2020.
Rowdy is far from just a lefty stick though, and there were times that he was carrying the Blue Jays offence this year. I’m not suggesting they’re even remotely on the same level yet, but if you squint really hard then the pairing of Rowdy and Vlad Jr. might remind you a bit of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez from the Red Sox in the early 2000’s. Both still pre-arbitration eligible, the Blue Jays should be well set at first base/DH for many years.
As we look ahead to 2021, you can bet that Tellez’s name is written in ink for next season’s roster, and that wasn’t the case a year ago. My how things can change over just 35 games.