Blue Jays: Rowdy Tellez won’t be denied at-bats in 2021
If everyone stays healthy, the Blue Jays have more starting calibre players than lineup spots. Regardless, Rowdy Tellez will find a way to be a regular.
He’s going to have a battle for playing time on his hands this year, in part because of the depth of the Blue Jays roster, but also because of his role as a first baseman/designated hitter. He’ll more than likely share first base duties with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and the duo will also be used the DH, but those at-bats will likely be spread around a bit. With what looks like a big season ahead for Vlad Jr., Tellez could find himself getting squeezed out more often than he should.
That said, I’m a full-on believer that he’s going to hit his way to forcing Charlie Montoyo’s hand to give him regular at-bats. And on that note, Tellez began to claim his stake to playing time this year with a big first game of the spring.
I realize it’s just one game, and it was during spring training, but Rowdy did exactly what he needed to do to remind everyone that 2020 was no fluke for him, even if the sample size was small. He went 2-2 in the game, and also picked up for the first RBI of the year.
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It wasn’t just that the had a pair of hits, it’s the authority he used to collect them. There was no easy into things for the burly slugger, as his hits left the bat at 104 miles per hour, followed by 103.7 on the second. That’s how you announce your presence in the first game of the year.
While Tellez will share time at 1B/DH with Vlad Jr., I believe that his biggest competition for playing time will be Randal Grichuk. The Blue Jays could choose to start Grichuk in right field and use Teoscar Hernandez as the DH, which would strengthen their defence. I’m sure it’ll happen a fair bit anyway, but I don’t think it’ll come at the cost of Tellez’s playing time as much as we might think right now. Perhaps it’ll help Vlad Jr. get more of an opportunity to play third base on occasion as well, which would allow both sluggers to fit in on defence.
After what I saw from Tellez last season, I believe that he’ll hit enough that the Jays will have to find a spot for him, and Sunday was the first step in making that happen.