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Thoughts on Toronto Blue Jays prospect Rowdy Tellez

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Power bat arrives in the majors

Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Rowdy Tellez arrived in the majors with the Toronto Blue Jays this week with a loud bang, going 4-for-5 in his first two games, all four hits being doubles. Let’s take a quick gander at what he offers.

Tellez was drafted in the 30th round in 2013 from high school in Elk Grove, California. He could have gone 28 rounds higher but he had a scholarship to the University of Southern California which put his signability in question. The Jays got him signed with an $850,000 bonus.

He hit a strong .305/.375/.438 in rookie ball and Low-A in 2014 then followed up with impressive seasons in 2015 (.289/.347/.454 in A-ball) and 2016 (.297/.387/.530 in Double-A).

He ranked sixth on the 2017 Toronto Blue Jays Top 20 prospects list with this comment:

6) Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Grade B: Age 21, 30th round pick in 2013; hit .297/.387/.530 with 23 homers, 63 walks, 92 strikeouts in 438 at-bats in Double-A; you will likely find him behind Anthony Alford on every other Blue Jays prospect list (including this one) but Tellez is actually younger and closer to the majors and I’m more confident in his bat; power, plate discipline, and under-rated pure hitting ability; lacks range at first but not a butcher and catches what he gets to, though may be a DH long-term; projects as .270-hitter with above-average OBP and SLG, could be consistent run producer. ETA 2018.

Alas, his 2017 season did not go well. His swing mechanics got out of whack in Triple-A and he was distracted by his mother’s cancer diagnosis, leading to a weak .222/.295/.333 mark. That said, he hit better late in the year and his past track record was good enough that the Jays still saw him as valuable.

Tellez ranked 16th on the 2018 Blue Jays Top 20 Prospects list with this comment:

16) Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Grade C+: Age 22, 30th round pick in 2013 from high school in Elk Grove, California; would have been a third round pick on talent but had signability issues, Jays got him for $850,000; looked like a blessing after excellent 2016 (.297/.387/.530 in Double-A) but got off to slow start in Triple-A and didn’t really pull out until hitting .311 in August; finished at .222/.295/.333; shows good plate discipline and above-average power at his best but there have always been skeptics who are now giving out “I told you sos”; given his age it is much too soon to give up but he may need a change of scenery; ETA 2019.

2018 has been better: .270/.340/.425 in Triple-A with 13 homers, 40 walks, and 74 strikeouts in 393 at-bats. It hasn’t been an exceptional season but it was better than last year and his wRC+ of 115 was safely above International League standards.

Tellez is a big guy at a listed 6-4, 220, a left-handed hitter and thrower, age 23. His scouting reports haven’t changed much: he’s got substantial power, although he still doesn’t always tap it in games. That said, his feel for hitting is better than the typical rip-and-grip type and even when in a slump he makes contact well. My guess is that he’ll be a solid presence as a DH/1B type, not a star but productive.

Rowdy’s mom passed away last month. Baseball is pretty insignificant in the face of that.