Toronto Blue Jays 2020 Report Card: Rowdy Tellez
Jays Journal contributors will be writing Toronto Blue Jays report cards based on how each player performed this past season. Today, we take a look at Rowdy Tellez.
Rowdy Tellez made his MLB debut in 2018, with this year being his third season for the Toronto Blue Jays. With Justin Smoak gone in free agency, it was expected Tellez would be more of the permanent first baseman for this year.
But when the Jays returned to summer camp in July, the organization chose to move third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to first base, now making Tellez and Guerrero share the first base and designated hitter positions.
Rowdy’s second major league season wasn’t as strong as his first, with a batting average of .314 in 2018 and .227 in 2019, so fans were hoping this third season would pick up where the last season seemed to drop. Rowdy normally brings strong defence at first base, and when he’s hot, great home run numbers and hits. He also faced some difficulties in this 2020 season with a season ending injury, or so we thought.
The right-handed batter ended this year hitting with a .283 BA, .346 OBP and .886 OPS. Not quite as good as his debut season, but certainly better than last year. Rowdy also drove in 23 RBI, had 32 hits, and eight home runs.
Like most of the team, Tellez started to get hot with his bat towards the end of the season. In his last 15 games, his average was .362 with a .426 OBP, 17 hits and 10 RBI. On Sept. 7, Rowdy Tellez also set some impressive stats for himself, reaching base safely in 11 straight games, according to Sportsnet Stats.
Rowdy also played a big part in the massive comeback against Philadelphia on August 20, which was originally 7-0 for the Phillies and ended with the Jays winning 9-8. Tellez got a solo home run in the sixth inning and also drove in two runs later on to give the Jays the much-needed lead.
Rowdy missed most of September with a knee injury and was not expected to be well enough to make a return in the Wild Card Series. But all of the longing looks on the sidelines seemed to motivate him, and he made a surprising return to make his first postseason debut.
Appearing as a pinch hitter in the second game against Tampa Bay, in his only at-bat, he got a base hit in a series when Jays hits were not common. This was a really good sign for Rowdy, suggesting that he is not one of the many players that needs time to readjust coming back from an injury.
Defensively, he played 19 games at first base and 12 games at DH. As the first baseman, he always seemed pretty solid and frankly more comfortable at the position compared to teammate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Tellez committed no errors, made four assists, helped turn 15 double-plays and had an overall fielding percentage of 1.000. He also made 132 putouts, with 136 defensive chances.
With overall good stats both offensively and defensively, I agree with others that say Rowdy Tellez should be playing every day for the Blue Jays. In difficult situations when you desperately need a dependable hitter, Tellez seems to be the answer as of right now.
Hopefully next year brings less injuries for everyone on the team, and we can see Rowdy Tellez be an everyday player splitting his time between the 1B and DH spots. He is an important bat and arm for this rebuilding team going forward, so it will be interesting to see what the Blue Jays will do with him in 2021.