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The season that was: Rowdy Tellez

A look at Rowdy’s 2019 season.

Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Rowdy Tellez came off a 2019 season, where he broke through to the majors, getting into 26 games, hitting .266/.450/.688 with 7 home runs.

It was great to see him do well after a tough couple of years with is mom battling cancer and then passing. Understandably his play suffered during all that. In 2017 he was number 5 on our prospect list, but the last couple of years he’s has landed on the number 17 spot twice.

Coming into the season we weren’t sure what would happen with Rowdy, we had Justin Smoak at first base and Kendrys Morales at DH and it didn’t look like there was a spot for Rowdy. But then Morales was traded just the day before the season season started and Rowdy was in the lineup for opening day.

Standard Batting
111 409 49 84 19 0 21 54 1 1 29 116 .227 .293 .449 .742 95 7
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/24/2019.

Baseball Reference has him at a 0.0 WAR. FanGraphs 0.1 WAR, giving him a value of $900,000 to the Blue Jays.

He had a .308 wOBA and a 91 wRC+.

Rowdy’s walk rate was 7.1% (team average: 8.4%) and strikeout rate was 28.4% (team average: 24.9%).

His line drive rate was 23.7% (team average 21.0%), ground ball rate 38.5% (team average 39.8%) and fly ball rate 37.7% (team average 39.2%). His fly balls were leaving the park 21.6% of the time (team average 15.8%).

His hard contact rate was 41.6% (team average 37.9%) and soft contact rate was 15.6% (team average 17.9).

His BABIP was .267 (team average: .280).

Tellez hit left-handers (.270/.317/.513) much better than right-handers (.208/.283/.420). I’m thinking it isn’t something that will carry over.

He hit a little better on the road (.246/.316/.457) than at home (.210/.272/.441).

With runners in scoring position he hit .223/.283/.447.

He hit better in the second half (.225/.320/.468) than the second half (.228/.281/.440).

Tellez by month:

  • April: .221/.291/.455 with 5 home runs, 6 walks and 27 strikeouts in 25 games.
  • May: .247/.295/.438 with 4 home runs, 5 walks and 27 strikeouts in 24 games.
  • June: .205/.253/.452 with 5 home runs, 5 walks and 21 strikeouts in 22 games.
  • July: .240/.269/.320 with 0 home runs, 1 walk and 8 strikeouts in 7 games.
  • August: ..167/.286/.278 with 1 home run, 5 walks and 8 strikeouts in 11 games.
  • September: .257/.346/.586 with 6 home runs, 7 walks and 25 strikeouts in 22 games.

Rowdy was sent to Buffalo on July 15th to August 13th. There wasn’t an immediate improvement, like with a few of the others who went to Buffalo but he finished the season strong.

Defense? FanGraphs has him at a 5.1 UZR/150. I’m not a big believer in those stats for first basemen but he looked good enough there to me. He made 2 errors for a .996 fielding average. I don’t think he was as good at scooping low throws as Smoak was but he seemed fine at the position.

FanGraphs has him at -1.6 runs on the basepaths.

In games he started Rowdy hit:

3rd: 6 games.

4th: 39 games.

5th: 17 games.

6th: 22 games.

7th: 11 games.

8th: 6 games.

The Jays were 41-70 in games he started.

His longest hitting streak was 8 game, longest on base streak was 9 games. The longest he went without a home run was 17 games.

His favorite game to face? Rowdy hit .372/.440/.930 in 12 games against the Red Sox.

Least favorite? He hit .136/.136/.136 in 6 games against the Twins.

Rowdy didn’t exactly settle the issue of who is the first baseman of the future. I’m going to try to take his good finish as good omen for the future. He really has to learn to take a walk a bit more often and chase less, hopefully that will come.

I’d imagine the team will plan for him to be the first baseman next year, but likely will pick up a veteran to give them a fallback.

There was the moment he was benched for not running out a ground ball. I tend to think that stuff is overblown. I’d like the guys to run when they hit the ball to the third base side. When it is hit to the first base side, there really isn’t any point other than to show off. I often say the only players I’ve seen run hard every time were Brett Lawrie and Vernon Wells and they spent too much time with hamstring troubles.

But I get the feeling there was something else going on with Rowdy. The team wanted to make a point of some sort with him and thought that this was the best way to do it. Maybe it worked, he did hit much better after sitting out the game. Who knows, maybe it was a wake up call for him, maybe it told him that he has to listen to his coaches. Maybe it told him that he didn’t have a guaranteed job.

He seems like a very likeable guy. I think it will be interesting to watch the rest of his career. With the power he has, he’ll get tons of chances to prove himself. Maybe not as many chances as Justin Smoak got, but, if the Jays were to give up on him, some other team will give him a chance or three.


For his 2019 season I would grade Rowdy Tellez a

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This was pretty cool.

This was pretty good too.