Rowdy Tellez was recalled by the Blue Jays on Monday, and frankly, it couldn’t have happened at a more appropriate time for the 23-year old 1st baseman coming off what’s been his third solid season in the past four.
Many people probably figured Tellez would get his shot to play for the Blue Jays back at the beginning of the 2017 season. During spring training of that year, Tellez was coming off a monster 2016 where he hit for a .297 AVG, .387 OBP, and had 23 HR with Double A New Hampshire. Justin Smoak on the other hand was struggling mightily after a nightmarish 2016. Many fans were calling for a change at 1st base, and they figured a then 22-year old Tellez was the answer.
Thankfully for both Tellez and Smoak, the Blue Jays didn’t make any rash decisions regarding their situation at 1st base. Smoak would go on to transform himself into an all-star last season. Whereas Tellez struggled in his first year of Triple A while playing against guys who on average were nearly five years his senior.
Despite a rough season in Buffalo last year, Tellez would bounce back nicely in 2018. Establishing himself as one of the Bisons most productive players. As well as he played this year (.270 AVG, 13 HR, 50 RBI), I’d still like to see Tellez spend a little more time in the minors come 2019 and show that he can really dominate down there before finally making a full-time jump to the big leagues. The Blue Jays have a team option on Smoak next season which they’d be crazy not to pick-up. Despite Tellez’ steady progression in the minor leagues, Smoak is still Toronto’s best option at 1st base. Which makes for an ideal situation for Tellez while he continues to improve and refine his game in Buffalo.
Come the second half of 2019, if Tellez is proving to be too much for minor league pitching, Toronto can bring him up then and begin the process of grooming him to be a starter much like they’re currently doing with Danny Jansen at catcher.