Jays From The Couch Is Missing Blue Jays Baseball, So We’ll Preview The 2020 Season For Individual Players. This Time, Rowdy Tellez
The Toronto Blue Jays should be playing baseball. Until they do, JFtC is going to offer up a distraction by previewing the 2020 season for players. This time, we look at Rowdy Tellez and what his role might be on this team moving forward.
Drafted in 2013 in the 30th round, Tellez has collected some deserved attention for his power. The guy is good for at least 20 doubles and 20 home runs. In 2019, he hit 21 dingers and 19 doubles in just over 400 plate appearances. His .222 ISO shows a lot of power in his bat.
|2 Yr||2 Yr||2 Yr||482||106||28||25||68||31||137||.241||.299||.475||.774|
He is able to tap into this power by hitting the ball hard. According to Baseball Savant, he put up a Barrel rate of 13.2, which put him in the top 9% of MLB hitters. Further, he was in the 80th percentile for Exit Velocity (51st in all of MLB in average EV), 68th percentile for Hard Hit % and 67th percentile for xSLG. Indeed, power is not his problem.
What is Tellez’ problem is his ability to get on base. 2019 saw him produce a wRC+ of 91 with a slash line of .227/.293/.449. All of his offensive value (-6.5 Off value at Fangraphs) came from his ability to hit for power. He was not helped out by his K% of 28.4%, which translates to 116 strike outs in 111 games.
Heading into this season, he is not stuck behind Justin Smoak anymore, but he is battling Travis Shaw for the first base job, so he is going to have to figure out how to produce more consistently at the plate. Obviously, speed is not a part of his game, so it makes the process of each at bat matter that much more important.
Defensively speaking, Tellez is passable at first. He won’t challenge for a Gold Glove, but that doesn’t mean we should dismiss him outright. He put up -2 DRS in 2019, but showed an improved UZR/150 at 5.1, which was up from -14.3 in 2018, albeit in a much smaller sample size. Perhaps, the physical changes that Keegan Matheson highlighted on the last day of February will help him on the defensive side of things.
Regardless, his offensive production will be what lands him the firstbase job and what allows him to keep it. Matheson also highlights a bit of a change in Tellez’ timing mechanism for his swing. He’s adjusted how he pumps his hands and for some players, that could be all it takes to turn things around.
Tellez has an option remaining and is still 25 yrs old, so he should be given more time with the organization. No one is suggesting he be cut loose. Instead, what we can expect is that he will be given the chance to show that his adjustments are paying off. Where the unknown comes in is how this will play out with Travis Shaw. If Shaw bounces back, we could see a rather hefty competition for playing time.
Obviously, the DH spot is an option in providing playing time, but that wil also depend on what the Blue Jays want to do with Teoscar Hernandez. If you’re the team, this is all a good problem to have. If you’re the player, you have to be thinking about where you fit in.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.