Jays From the Couch brings you an interview with power hitting Toronto Blue Jays prospect, Rowdy Tellez, who talks about his progress & more!
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After we brought you an interview with Toronto Blue Jays prospect, Conner Greene, we follow it up with our sit down with Rowdy Tellez. He talks to our Catherine Stem about his approach to hitting, coaching and much more! You can listen to the interview at the bottom of this page.
The addition of Rowdy Tellez to the Buffalo Bisons roster has some Blue Jays fans celebrating the talent coming up through the minor league system. Shaun Doyle wrote about his impressive season in New Hampshire with the AA Fisher Cats and The Toronto Blue Jays have certainly been keeping an eye on him. That has bred the hope that he could, sometime in the future, be a replacement of sorts for the power bat of Edwin Encarnacion, a point made by Ryan Mueller HERE.
Jays From the Couch had the chance to talk to Rowdy Tellez about where he’s going and how he’s getting there.
JFtC: Where do you think you’re starting this season coming up?
RT: I had a great year in AA this year, but I’m just going to go into Spring Training looking forward to being in major league camp again and hanging out with the guys and learning and polishing off my tools to be the best player I can and help my team win when we go to war. Just excited to get ready for Spring Training and wherever the Blue Jays want to put me, that’s where I’ll play.
JFtC: We’ve been talking and it looks like it’s probably going to be in Buffalo, and then there’s some people that are talking about you being on the Blue Jays sometime this season – which would be kind of cool – we’re looking for your production up there.
RT: There’s always a possibility. Like I said, it’s just a great opportunity for the Blue Jays to even look at me that way and I’ve been grateful to have that for most of my career. I just want to have fun and be the best player I can be wherever I am, whether it’s in Buffalo or it’s in rookie ball or in the major leagues. Always produce and do what I can.
JFtC: As you’re moving up through the ranks do you change your regimen in the offseason at any stretch or are you just kind of doing what you always do?
RT: You know what? My routine is something that’s always been pretty much the same. You change things for the better, like this year I’m now full time in Dunedin working out with our major league staff and other major league players, and learning how they, you know, what made them successful to be the best players they can. From time to time it changes but for the most part stays the same. I want to stick to what got me to where I am and I’m going to take things that make Troy Tulowitzki and all those guys, Josh Donaldson, what makes them the best players in baseball. I want to do what they can do. They got there and they have success so why can’t I do the same.
JFtC: Pitch recognition seems to be the word of the season because of how the bullpen was run in the post season. Do you work on that a lot more seeing as you might not see that same pitcher more than one inning or two?
RT: Being a left-handed hitter, you tend to see a lot of left-handed specialists later in the game so that’s been a part for me to work on as being more confident and more understanding of how these pitchers are going to pitch me; kind of trying to outsmart them. If you’re going to see these guys multiple times why not know what they’re going to throw and why not figure out how they’re going to throw you. I just try to work on that at bat. Focusing on who’s pitching then and what’s going on. Pitch recognition has always been a good thing for me. I tend not to strike out a lot, I walk a lot so pitch recognition’s not something that is a worry to me. I just go out and play and…play well.
JFtC: Your plate approach is praised by a lot of people. Now you work with hitting coaches do you change, do you take their advice or do you use kind of go “you know what? What I am doing is working”? We interviewed Ritchie Hebner last season and he said ‘at this stage I don’t really have to tell the guys what to do, they’ve been doing it for so long, the kind of know what they’re doing and it’s just about strengthening those’. Is that your approach?
RT: Everybody’s going to have something different to say about how they hit and what’s going on. It’s what you want to take away from it. There could be guys that were middle infielders and fast runners that try to hit base hits and steal bases, and they have something to tell me and then there could be guys like Carlos Delgado and Fred McGriff who hit almost 500 home runs in their career apiece and there’s things I can take away from that. You’re your own best coach. I’ve always believed that. Like I said, you work with the guys and you see guys and how they work and you try it, and if you don’t like it, you don’t like it. If you like it, you stick with it. Always give everybody the fair chance of trying what they think works and if you don’t like it you don’t have to use it.
JFtC: Have you ever had to deal with hitting coaches that had a completely different philosophy that you do?
RT: Oh yeah, everybody has a different philosophy than I do. There’s certain guys that do have the same philosophy and those are guys that are a lot like how I am: a big, power-hitting first baseman. Like I said, you’ve got to take everything you can from everybody and be understanding of what they have to to say. Don’t blow them off because they’re not saying stuff that you like or they’re not relatable to you. Always take into consideration what people have to say and be understanding towards them.
JFtC: Do you ever have a worry that somebody’s going to tell you to add a certain leg kick and that’s going to throw your mojo off?
RT: No, not at all. I mean, they can say what they want, or ask me to do what they want. If I don’t like it, I’m going to be a professional about it and disagree with a good attitude about it. Just kind of go and talk to them about why they want me to do that and ask what’s the reasoning behind it. I already hit with a leg kick so that’s not a big deal, but there have been people who have tried to change my swing and you just have to be professional about it and be understanding towards what they’re thinking. That’s where it comes to being in a coach and a player relationship. You have to be able to talk about things and be professional.
JFtC: So that relationship is really important…?
JFtC: You are starting in to that realm of being a little baseball kid’s hero, and they’re going to be growing up looking up to you and seeing what you do and how you’ve moved through the ranks so quickly. Who were your idols growing up?
RT: There’s so many. On the baseball side Jim Thome, Adrian Gonzalez, Anthony Rizzo. Those are guys I can actually still play against and I’m looking forward to playing against those guys. Then just on how I was raised, my dad. I mean, just the way he was raised and the way he was taught to be brought up instilled a lot of things in how I see my life. How hard I work, how dedicated I am, how I cherish everything I have, I’m grateful. When you come from a family like that it’s a great feeling to always be out. I play with pride, I play with just so much passion. I play for my family. It’s not my name on the back. It’s the Toronto Blue Jays on the front, but it’s my family’s name on the back of my jersey and that’s something that’s always going to be there with me.
And that’s just the best answer ever.
LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW HERE:
The Jays’ Nest Podcast- Talking Toronto Blue Jays – Toronto Blue Jays Interview: Rowdy Tellez
*Featured Image Credit: W Black- JFtC
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Catherine Stem is a Blue Jays fan and writer who has combined both of these great things by writing for Jays From the Couch. Through all the ups and downs of baseball, all aspects of the game are explored. Keeping a close eye on the Blue Jays Triple A team, the Buffalo Bisons has also become part of her make-up.