Lost in the hype of the Blue Jays farm system being named one of the top ones in the game this summer has been the play of Buffalo 1B Rowdy Tellez over the past two months.
Seemingly headed for Toronto after bashing 23 HRs as a 21-year-old in AA two seasons ago, Tellez appeared headed for DFA status after a disappointing start to 2018, following and equally below expectations 2017 campaign.
Hot on the heels of a .309/.338/.574 July, Tellez had a pair of hits in Buffalo’s loss last night, raising his average to .455 over his past ten. In the process, Tellez has raised his average to .278, to go along with a becoming-respectable .786 OPS.
Off-field problems, including his mother’s battle with cancer, had much to do with Tellez’ struggles last year. After keeping things inside for much of last year, he’s been more open with his teammates and coaches.
On the baseball side, Tellez is not chasing as many pitches out of the strike zone as he did last year. After showing remarkable patience in the Eastern League, Tellez saw fewer pitches in the heart of the strike zone in AAA last year, and expanded his strike zone as a result. Frequently finding himself in pitcher’s counts, Tellez wasn’t cranking out the Quality ABs that he was in AA. Last year, Tellez seemed to frequently take hacks at pitches that left a viewer wondering why he offered at that pitch; his strike zone judgement seems significantly improved of late.
Does this mean that Tellez is poised to be promoted to the big leagues when MLB rosters expand on September 1st? He’s not a lock with Justin Smoak ensconced at 1B, but with the Blue Jays looking toward the future, perhaps he could take away ABs from DH Kendrys Morales. Tellez is a bat-first player, and while his numbers of late are promising, his power numbers are still lacking for a player of his type. Still, if a rebuild is coming, with Tellez running out of options next year and the team far from contention, it wouldn’t hurt to kick the tires on this former top prospect next month.