Two points of clarification:
“Invest” = Give him major league game time at DH/1B
“Now” = This season
With a name like Rowdy the Blue Jays social media team is praying for this prospect to make the jump to the majors, but is that roster move in the teams hands or the players?
Tellez, a 30th round draft pick by the Blue Jays in 2013 draft is currently 23 years old and ranked 95th* overall in the MLB prospect rankings system. Despite that spot on the rankings list Tellez had a down 2017, taking the wind out of his sales from 2016 where he hit 23 home runs and collected 81 RBIs, all with a batting average of .297 in 514 plate appearances. Tellez’s 2017 numbers saw his home runs total shrink to 6, RBIs dropped to 56, and his average bottomed out at . 222 in 501 plate appearances.
After a stronger start to the 2018 season Tellez has begun finding that consistency in his game, raising his average and offensive production in AAA Buffalo this season. He’s currently hitting .255 with 7 home runs, 33 RBIs and a .331 OBP through 73 games.While these numbers aren’t elite they are trending in the right direction for the young first baseman. Things are clicking for Rowdy and it may be time to find out if he has the makings of a major league player or if he is an asset the Blue Jays can move on from.
It should also be mentioned that 2017 saw Tellez forced to leave the field for family issues surrounding his mothers health. After being declared cancer free the weight was lifted from the Jays prospect and it has allowed him to step back into his life as a baseball player. Players are people, and prospects are kids. This is a truth a lot of fans don’t grasp because of the fame and money that comes with being a professional athlete – for Tellez he had to do a lot of maturing off the field with his personal life that forced him to step away from baseball.
As mentioned his position is first base and with both Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales occupying that job (with the other in the DH role) one would likely need to move. With the Blue Jays in a rebuild (sorry but they are) one or both could be used to acquire prospects and picks to accelerate the process. Smoak has a lot more upside for trade return because his power is matched with above average defence, but the Jays could hold onto him to help tide over the fanbase during their ‘retooling’.
Morales should be moved if there are any suitors for him, hell send over some cash and low draft picks to make a deal come to fruition if you have to. Morales is over the hill production wise and is still owed $12 million for one more year after this season. Moving him would open up a roster spot for a promotion and would also ease the books for Shapiro and co.
Now, Tellez shows a lot of promise and upside at the plate but how is he defensively? Lets say he is closer to Morales at first base than Smoak. While there is truth to the old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, Tellez is just 23 and has a lot of tricks he still needs to learn. Major league exposure to first base and being the understudy of one of the best defensive first basemen in the league has nothing but upside for the Jays and is an opportunity they shouldn’t let slip away.
This season is already a wash and if Atkins and Shapiro can find some trading partners for some of their veteran trade chips, Tellez and friends could earn some late season big league reps to help them develop. Rowdy has all the makings of a middle of the order bat – strong and physically big (6’4″) with good lower body power generation in his swing. Let him adjust to major league pitching at the major leagues. The worst that could happen is the Jays find out what they have in one of their highest ranked organizational prospects.
*at 2017, has since dropped out of the top 100 in 2018.