Countdown to Baseball: Rowdy Tellez
By Jay Blue
Blue Jays From Away
We talked about projected roster talks about the position players for the class-A Lansing Lugnuts and we’re going to talk about a young first baseman with everyone’s favourite name: Rowdy Tellez.
Rowdy earned his nickname when he was a baby and hasn’t looked back since. Considered one of the best power hitters in the 2013 draft, a strong commitment to the University of Southern California scared a lot of teams off and the Blue Jays ended up selecting him with the 30th round pick. Tellez was given $850,000 and signed on the dotted line, beginning his path to the bigs with the GCL Blue Jays.
Known for his raw power that I’ve seen in batting practice and games, the thing that most impresses me about Tellez is his poise at the plate. He recognized pitches well and rarely gets fooled on the same pitch twice. He’s patient at the place and is a gamer, looking to help his team get the most out of the situation he’s in rather than going for the long ball all the time. Rowdy is a hard worker; I’ve seen him on the field doing extra work with coaches before BP. He’s working hard to make himself a decent infielder at first base and while he’s not there yet, his footwork is improving.
The results have borne themselves out for Tellez. While he had a decent first year, it was in August that things really started to click after a slow start. Overall, he hit .234/.319/.371 but if you look at his last seven games of 2013, he hit .393/.452/.821 with two doubles (of his five total), two triples (of his three total) and both of his home runs. Tellez showed a mature eye, walking in 10.6% of his at bats and striking out in 18.4% and the 18 year old set himself up for a strong sophomore season in the pros.
In 2014, Tellez was sent to Bluefield and had some very poor results to start the season, hitting .103/.191/.121 in his first 17 games. He told me that his rough start in Bluefield was due to a lapse in his mental approach and that he was trying to do too much. After coaches spoke to him about staying within himself, however, he hit a tremendous .376/.433/.556 for Bluefield, launching 10 doubles, a triple and four home runs, walking 13 times and striking out only 15 times, giving him an 8.7% walk rate and an incredible 12.4% strikeout rate in 218 plate appearances overall for the Bluefield club.
Earning himself a promotion to Lansing, Tellez felt at home with teammates from spring training and smashed his way to a .357/.449/.500 line with a pair of home runs, seven walks and 10 strikeouts in 49 plate appearances.
Rowdy is as pure a hitter from the left side as Mitch Nay is from the right and his mature approach and tremendous raw power make him one of the best-hitting prospects in the Blue Jays’ system. His position will always force him to hit but it doesn’t look like that’s going to be a problem. He’ll open the season in Lansing and could make it Dunedin by the season’s end.
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