Blue Jays commitment to prospect development reaffirmed by President Mark Shapiro’s comments
It wouldn’t be Spring Training if the performance of a prospect or two didn’t cause Blue Jays fans to think the future. This pre-season 1st baseman Rowdy Tellez and left-handed reliever Tim Mayza have turned some heads. Many fans may feel they’ve earned a chance to be part of the major league roster on Opening Day.
Thankfully the Blue Jays Front Office aren’t idiots and will not let a prospect’s spring performance move them away from the franchise’s commitment of player development.
Mark Shapiro on The Fan590 Prime Time Sports commented on Blue Jays first baseman prospect, Rowdy Tellez. Shapiro went on record saying,
“I would never commit beyond the start of the season, but (we’re) absolutely committed at 21 years old, never having had a triple-A at-bat, to him going to triple-A. I think those are the kinds of decisions, when you make them based on spring training and even based on a double-A season, that shortchange the foundation (of a player). You pay for it because you’re trying to rush the performance.”
This is good news. Organizations tend to rush prospects at the cost of their development. This may explain why Dalton Pompey struggled to take his game to the next level the past two seasons. It may also explain why former rushed prospects Anthony Gose and Travis Snider never progressed beyond 4th outfield status.
Many Toronto Blue Jay fans don’t know Rowdy Tellez hit just .188 through 19 April games. Yes, Rowdy hit for power (3HR) and displayed the plate discipline (19BB and 14 K) which will make him successful at the major league level. The 21-yr-old had an adjustment period which he had to go through before finding success in the following months.
When a player struggles, they need to make adjustments to get out of the funk. They need to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. This ‘adjustment period’ can vary depending on where a particular prospect is in their development or their skill level. It is an important part of developing successful major league players.
When Toronto lost Edwin Encarnacion to Free-Agency, many fans looked to Rowdy Tellez as an internal option to the fill the void at 1st/DH. Thankfully Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins signed Kendry Morales and Steve Pearce to short-term contracts rather than rushing a prospect with one successful season at Double-A. These short-term contracts allow the club time to develop prospects. It also allows the flexibility to move away from those contracts when the time comes for a prospect to claim a regular role.
Mark Shapiro also had this to say,
“If Rowdy Tellez goes to triple-A and has 200 outstanding at-bats and starts dominating there and we have a gap of performance at the major-league level, you can bet he’s going to enter into the conversation of alternatives to improve the club there,” said Shapiro before later adding, “the best decisions we make as a front office are the ones the players make for us.”
This statement should like a fire under Justin Smoak‘s rear end. Rowdy Tellez will force the issue if he comes close to replicating his 2016 numbers and Smoak is unable to improve upon his 2016 numbers. For those at home keeping score, 200 at-bats put ETA for Rowdy Tellez in Toronto around the middle of June.
A commitment to developing the Blue Jays farm system will start producing a steady stream of major league talent with Tellez leading the charge for the positional prospects.
*FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: C Stem JFtC
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