Acclaimed Toronto Blue Jays prospect Rowdy Tellez has ‘discovered loads’ from disappointing season

By Rob Longley

BUFFALO — It was one other strikeout in a principally maddening season, and Rowdy Tellez couldn’t include the fumes.

Off went the batting helmet, slammed to the bottom at Coca-Cola Discipline, and with it nearly each different piece of his Buffalo Bisons tools. It was a humid night time, however Tellez was overheating with the frustration of a season that hasn’t gone the best way he or Toronto Blue Jays administration anticipated it will.

“It’s been a studying 12 months,” Tellez mentioned afterwards of a spring and summer time that began with him being touted because the Jays’ first baseman of the long run and is ending with significantly much less fanfare. “I’ve undoubtedly discovered loads by way of deal with issues. It’s a kind of years the place you actually discover maturity at a younger age.”

Seeing Tellez in motion throughout spring coaching, it was straightforward to overlook that he was only a 22-year-old with some climbing nonetheless to do up the quite inflexible ladder of baseball development.

He hit the ball with authority, each in video games and in batting observe. He was studious, hard-working and a sponge across the veterans, a lot of whom appreciated his potential. All of it led to some wild projections that Tellez could be the Jays’ first baseman of the current, not to mention the long run.

Whereas Justin Smoak made the quick speak of that moot together with his breakthrough, all-star season, Tellez went to Triple-A Buffalo and struggled, unable to crack a batting common of .200 early on.

On this Feb. 28 file photograph, Rowdy Tellez performs first base for the Toronto Blue Jays in spring coaching. Nathan Denette / CP

It seems it was far more than a highly-touted younger participant getting cocky, nevertheless. The hardship went far past the plate. As he was making his affect within the big-league locker room in Dunedin, his mom Lori was going via a much more crucial wrestle after being recognized with Stage four melanoma.

Rowdy, who had moved to Florida from the household’s California dwelling to coach full-time on the Jays’ amenities, discovered about his mother’s sickness in December. However the deeper the season progressed, the extra he struggled with the emotional calls for.

“She was recognized throughout the low season and it received fairly dangerous in the beginning of the season, so I needed to cope with a number of stuff again dwelling,” Tellez mentioned in an interview with Postmedia. “It was powerful to have to hold a household and a job.

“To attempt to undergo all that at 22 years outdated in one of many highest ranges and sports activities and I’m attempting to make the large membership and produce at a excessive stage … I added strain to myself.”

Tellez isn’t on the lookout for sympathy. He’s effectively conscious that prospects are simply that. He is aware of baseball is a enterprise, a generally merciless one, and whereas the Jays group has been supportive together with his household struggles, the strapping California native is aware of that finally he has to provide to rekindle the keenness.

The Jays have been supportive as effectively — each his teammates in Buffalo, the membership’s high farm group, and executives from head workplace down the QEW in Toronto. Finally, nevertheless, Tellez must stand up on his personal.

“The distractions solely intensify and get grander once you get to the large leagues,” Jays basic supervisor Ross Atkins mentioned.. “There’s nothing tougher to cope with than household struggles and private struggles … studying separate these is certainly part of each participant’s improvement.”

Rowdy Tellez bats for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. Rob Longley / Postmedia Community

Whereas sympathetic to what he’s been via this 12 months and acknowledging that Tellez is likely one of the youthful gamers on the Triple-A stage, there may be nonetheless some shock throughout the Jays group on the regression.

Massive-league supervisor John Gibbons felt it was only a matter of time earlier than he would have him at his disposal, particularly after watching him in spring coaching. Followers, particularly those that felt that Smoak was a misplaced trigger at first, received excited as effectively.

Nobody is giving up on Tellez, nevertheless. Removed from it. He might have slipped within the varied prospects rankings that captivate followers, however his inventory nonetheless has a purchase advice from Jays administration.

That mentioned, he’s not about to be handed an open-ended ticket to the present.

“If you happen to’re actually good, it’s not that troublesome,” Bisons supervisor Bobby Meacham mentioned. “It’s a studying expertise. If you happen to’re actually a high man that everyone says you’re, then you definately be taught from it and also you develop from it and also you’re higher for it.

“I assume we’ll discover out the remainder of this season and into subsequent season which man we’re coping with — the man that’s nearly as good as all people says he’s or any individual that was simply good in Double-A.”

What’s Meacham’s guess on how that can unfold?

“I do know which man he’s,” the first-year Bisons supervisor mentioned. “I’ll preserve that to myself. I’m his supervisor. I do know which man he’s. It simply depends upon him. It’s as much as him to determine keep collectively and get higher as a baseball participant and use the time he’s had right here in a constructive approach.”

Atkins admits he was greatly surprised on the flatline of a season Tellez has produced. Heading into July, he was struggling on the plate with a batting common of .199. After hitting 23 dwelling runs at Double-A New Hampshire, he has simply six this season in Buffalo. He’s picked it up in August, nevertheless, hitting a way more Rowdy-like .323.

“I undoubtedly was stunned that he didn’t have a greater 12 months, and I feel he’s, too,” Atkins mentioned. “I feel all of us are. It occurs. We simply all thought he was going to have a greater 12 months than he has. That was from everybody. From me to John Gibbons to all of the participant improvement individuals to Rowdy Tellez and to the media.

“That’s the character {of professional} sports activities and that might be a part of his maturation.”

The hype machine was a part of it, particularly for an ageing Jays group that, because the season has progressed, can’t see its high prospects arrive quickly sufficient.

“He definitely had a number of consideration in spring coaching,” Atkins mentioned. “He regarded nice. He was comfy. He was coming off an actual robust low season and an actual robust second half of Double-A. All of the arrows have been pointing up. All the things was trending in a really constructive course. Human nature is to get enthusiastic about that.

“The arrows will level again up for us. The important thing within the equation is he’s 22 years outdated taking part in principally with 26-year-old gamers. It’s not an anticipated a part of the method, however this isn’t part of the method that he can’t overcome.”

The excellent news from Tellez’s perspective is that issues are getting higher. His dad and mom have been in Buffalo for a current recreation and mom Lori’s well being has improved notably.

The rising batting common because the Triple-A season winds down will even provide him one thing to hold ahead into subsequent season. And it didn’t damage that some self-analysis throughout the lowest moments of his struggles helped Rowdy recalibrate and look ahead.

It has been a quite pointed lesson within the baseball actuality that being a prospect means you’ve solely began on the highway to a big-league profession.

“After all you hope for stuff,” Tellez mentioned of his personal expectations borne out of that profitable spring. “That’s uncontrollable. If you attempt to take that in your individual arms, issues normally don’t go your approach, and I attempted to do an excessive amount of.

“I attempted to outplay what I can management and that actually confirmed on the sphere. Now, it simply looks like I’m placing collectively higher at-bats, stick with my strategy and never including strain to myself to attempt to hit a five-run dwelling run our hit 10 dwelling runs in a single swing. Taking it pitch by pitch, day-to-day, and preserve this factor going.”

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