Blue Jays 2016 Top Prospects: #5 Rowdy Tellez

Cracking the Top 5 of the Blue Jays Prospect run down, Jays From the Couch digs the long ball as 1B prospect Rowdy Tellez comes in at #5!

The Jays from the Couch Top Prospect countdown keeps chugging along! We crack the Top 5 today with our look at the 5th ranked prospect in the Blue Jays system: 1B Rowdy Tellez.

DOB: Mar. 16, 1995
BAT:
L
THROW:
L

Tellez was a deep dive, a 30th round selection by the Blue Jays in 2013 out of Elk Grove High School in Elk Grove, CA. Tellez fell due to concerns he couldn’t be swayed from attending USC. The Blue Jays convinced him to sign by paying him an $850K bonus for a slot that generally is worth a $100K bonus. It set a record for any player selected after the 10th round of the draft, but for a player Baseball America dubbed “the best left-handed power bat in the class,” the Blue Jays were willing to pay.

Heading into 2015, Tellez was expected to maintain the course. Starting the season at low A Lansing, the offense was not the issue for the 20 year old. Assistant GM Tony LaCava described Tellez’s hitting ability as “a throwback in terms of his swing and the way he goes about it. He’s got a chance to hit and hit for power.” He displayed it in Michigan’s capital in the early half of 2015. In 68 games for the Lugnuts, Tellez batted .296 with seven home runs and 49 RBIs, slugging .454 along the way. Of particular note was his game in South Bend against the Cubs on May 13th, when he went 4 for 5 with three doubles and a home run. By June, the Blue Jays had seen enough and promoted Tellez to High A Dunedin.

Tellez didn’t slow down upon arrival in Florida. His first four games saw him collect three home runs and nine hits. By the end of his first High A season, Tellez finished with another seven home runs to pace a .278 average and a .473 slugging percentage. Eager to keep going, Tellez took part in the Arizona Fall League and had an impressive showing for the Salt River Rafters. In 21 games in Scottsdale, Tellez carried a .293 BA and an .488 slugging percentage, knocking out another four homers with 17 RBIs.

The important thing for Tellez to work on during 2015 was his defense at first base. His limited speed necessitates him manning the cold corner, and the winter of 2015 was spent working with former All-Star Derrek Lee on the fundamentals of first. It paid off, as he posted the highest fielding percentage of his career between Lansing and Dunedin, a .990 mark, and he did not commit a single error in Arizona. Positive steps for the youngster.

OUTLOOK FOR 2016:

Tellez is a rising star in the Blue Jays organization, and the clear heir apparent to the legacy of Fred McGriff, Carlos Delgado and Edwin Encarnacion. Writers are starting to take notice. In Chris Mitchell’s KATOH’s Top 100 Prospect List for 2016, Tellez is the only Blue Jays prospect on the list at #85. He also earned an invite to Spring Training with the big league club, but given his age and his need to develop his defense, it will likely be a short stay. Expect him to go back to Dunedin to start 2016, but if he continues to mash the A pitching like he did in 2015, he could be in New Hampshire by the end of the year. Encarnacion may be in his final year for the Blue Jays so expecting Tellez to be ready for 2017 is a stretch, but 2018? Fans in RogerSkyDome should start to get Rowdy.

ETA: 2018

*FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: BERT HANLON UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0

A.J. Andrews

Andrews has been immersed in sports from a young age, since she could read Jr. Jays comics that filtered into the backwoods of Northern Nova Scotia. The Canadian has been blogging about sports since high school, writing on FOX Sports.com’s blogs , her independent Tailpipe Sports blog and Jays Journal prior to joining JFTC. The 30 year old has been with Jays From the Couch since its humble beginnings, and continues to contribute while forging a career in the sports journalism industry. She brings a discerning eye, a smoking keyboard, and a brain that made Jeopardy! briefly rethink letting Canadians onto their program. She will talk about all sports, most Nintendo games, and trans issues for way too long if you give her an opening.