ROWDY Ryan TELLEZ
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Nickname:   N/A Position:   1B
Home: N/A Team:   BLUE JAYS
Height: 6' 4" Bats:   L
Weight: 250 Throws:   L
DOB: 3/16/1995 Agent: N/A
Uniform #: 44  
Birth City: Elk Grove, CA
Draft: Blue Jays #30 - 2013 - Out of high school (CA)
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2013 GCL GCL-Blue Jays   34 124 10 29 5 3 2 20 1 0 15 26 .319 .371 .234
2014 MWL LANSING   12 42 6 15 0 0 2 7 0 0 7 10 .449 .500 .357
2014 APP BLUEFIELD   53 191 26 56 11 1 4 36 3 2 19 27 .358 .424 .293
2015 FSL DUNEDIN   35 131 17 36 5 0 7 28 3 0 14 28 .338 .473 .275
2015 MWL LANSING   68 270 36 80 19 0 7 49 2 2 24 56 .351 .444 .296
2016 EL NEW HAMPSHIRE   124 438 71 130 29 2 23 81 4 3 63 92 .387 .530 .297
2017 IL BUFFALO   122 445 45 99 29 1 6 56 6 1 47 94 .295 .333 .222
2018 IL BUFFALO   112 393 43 106 22 0 13 50 7 4 40 74 .340 .425 .270
2018 AL BLUE JAYS   23 70 10 22 9 0 4 14 0 0 2 21 .329 .614 .314
2019 IL BUFFALO   26 93 20 34 9 0 7 21 0 0 14 25 .450 .688 .366
2019 AL BLUE JAYS $555.00 111 370 49 84 19 0 21 54 1 1 29 116 .293 .449 .227
Personal
  • Tellez first name is Ryan, but almost never does anybody call him that. It's always "Rowdy." He earned his nickname while he was still in the womb.

    “I was always moving around, I was kicking her stomach,” Tellez said. “My grandma actually said I was Baby Rowdy because of how much I moved . . . and the name kind of stuck.”

    His grandmother has called him Rowdy his whole life. In fact, when she is asked what her grandson's real name is, she says, "I don't know! It's Rowdy. Quit asking me that."

  • Rowdy was riding a motorcycle by the age of 3. As the story goes, rocking Rowdy could ride a dirt bike before he could talk or read.

    But as he got bigger, the bike seemed smaller. And by age 10, his racing days were over. Baseball, the sport that Tellez once used to fill the time between races, became his No. 1 sport.

    The choice changed his life.

    "My dad raced and all of my good friends did, too, so that was awesome," Tellez said. "But the older I got, I think we all figured out that I had a better chance of not getting hurt and making a career in baseball than I did racing. But I do miss going fast out there, because now I'm one of the slowest ones out there on the field."

  • Rowdy is from Elk Grove, Calif., a suburb of Sacramento. At the heart of that town is Elk Grove High, established in 1893. The school has a rich baseball tradition, one that includes six Division I Sac-Joaquin section titles and nine big league alumni—most notably Buck Martinez—as well as agent Scott Boras.

  • If Tellez goes to Southern Cal, which he committed to in his senior season of high school, he will be the first member of his family to attend a major university.

    Rowdy's father, Greg, who works for Pacific Gas & Electric, and his mother, Amy, who works for the Elk Grove school district, both entered the workforce after graduating from high school.

    Rowdy is a very good student, entering his senior high school season with a 3.2 grade point average. He is intelligent and has a strong work ethic to go with his natural ability.

  • July 2013: Tellez signed with the Blue Jays on the deadline (July 12) after they chose him in the 30th round, out of Elk Grove High School in California. His bonus was a rousing $850,000, via scout Darold Brown. It took that much to get Rowdy to not go to USC. 

    "I'd always been a Trojans fan and education is important to me," Tellez said. "But I wanted to start playing, and everything worked out the way I'd hoped."

  • The Blue Jays signed Tellez as a 30th-round pick after failing to sign first-rounder Phil Bickford. Nearly all of Tellez's value will come from a bat that has the potential to make him middle-of-the-order presence, if he hits enough to allow his plus-plus raw power to play. (Spring 2015)
  • In 2014, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Tellez as the 18th-best prospect in the Blue Jays organization. But he fell to # 30 in the spring of 2015.

    But a fine 2015 season bounced all the up to 7th-best Jays prospect in the winter before 2016 spring training. And he moved up to #6 in the spring of 2017. Rowdy dropped to #21 in the spring of 2018, and to #29 in the Spring of 2019.

  • Rowdy uses criticism of his big, burly body as a motivator. He plays with an edge.

  • Rowdy was a visitor at the Warren Park Junior Public School; it was something he looked forward to doing because he hadn’t had those experiences as a young student in California. 

    “I just want to have an impact on the kids,” Tellez said. “I didn’t have much of it growing up, of people coming into my classes. … Not many athletes would have taken time out of their day to come back. So for us, we want to give back to the community that is giving everything to us. Toronto is a phenomenal city and they take care of us. We want to do the same for the kids.”

    The visit from Tellez and teammate Trent Thornton—along with Blue Jays mascot Ace and members of the J Force —was a surprise for the students of Warren Park, who had a chance to hear from the two rookies, ask them questions, play a game with them, and glean advice from them. 

    Tellez shared with the students: “Trust everything that’s going on around you. Believe in what your teachers have to say, they’re not going to steer you in the wrong direction. Just have fun, enjoy it. You only go to school once, hopefully.” 

    Embracing their time with the players, the focus of the visit for the students centered around teamwork and learning how to be a good teammate, something the Big Leaguers know a little bit about.

    “For me, it’s showing up every day with the attitude that you’re going to be the best that you can be for the people around you,” Tellez said. “Not being selfish and worrying about what’s going on for you, or upset about everything that’s going on if it’s not going your way, but being the same person day in and day out.”

    Both players enjoyed the opportunity to get out into the local community and embrace the city they call home for the season.  “For me, it’s a bigger impact than just the city and the kids,” Tellez said. “It’s personal, this is everything for us.”  (Brudnicki - mlb.com - 5/22/2019)

  • Rowdy quit baseball in 2018.  When his mother Lori lost her battle with cancer in August, he left the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons and headed home to California to be with his family. After some time there, Tellez decided that he wanted to stay, so he called the Blue Jays’ brass and told them he wouldn’t be coming back.

    But 10 days after he departed, Tellez rejoined the Bisons. Only six days later, he made his Major League debut in Toronto, a clear shift from his plan not to return. So what changed the slugger’s mind?

    Devon Travis did. “He’s always been the one who checks in on me, makes sure I’m OK, tells me he loves me. He’s basically an older brother to me,” Tellez said. “Last year, he was the main reason I came back to play and finish out my Minor League season.

    “He said, ‘Hey, I think you should come back, it will help you get your mind off it.’ I don’t know if he knew anything and what their plans were, but every day that I was gone in August, he would text me or call me and see how I was doing, just keeping my spirits up. He’s one of, if not the most important reason, that I came back to play and got to the Big Leagues last year.”  

    “Everything’s positive with him,” Tellez said. “He’s just been so positive with me and keeping me in line. He’s like the older brother who’s nice, not the one who beats you up.

    “It’s how he was raised, who he is and what he stands for. It’s hard to find in a person. He’s really genuine, he’s never going to blow smoke up your behind or tell you lies. He’s always going to be honest, whether it’s good or bad. … He’s just one of those people you would call the ultimate teammate.”  (Brudnicki - mlb.com - 7/11/2019)

  • Ahead of the September 25, 2019 game with the Orioles, Rowdy made a promise.

    As he went through his pregame routine, Tellez touted a companion along with him. Five-year-old Emmett Cooper from Brantford, Ontario, joined the infielder in the dugout, toured the clubhouse and participated in drills during batting practice, and when the two met with manager Charlie Montoyo in the skipper’s office, Tellez made a prophetic commitment to the young fan.

    “I’m not going to compare Rowdy with Babe Ruth, but he promised the kid that he was going to hit a home run, and he hit two, so that was pretty cool,” Montoyo said, after Toronto’s 3-2 win over the Orioles at Rogers Centre. “The kid had heart problems before, and he was in the clubhouse today, and we were talking.

    “He came to my office and I said, ‘Rowdy’s going to hit at least four more [homers] and he goes, ‘I just need one more,’ and he did it. That was pretty cool; a pretty cool moment when he did that. The kid is pretty happy about it.”

    With the third multi-homer game of his career, Tellez became the fourth rookie in team history to reach the milestone mark of 20 round-trippers. And while he’s sure Cooper was happy with the performance, Tellez didn’t achieve what he’d told his young friend he would.

    “I promised him three, and I failed,” Tellez said. “But it was a special moment for us. We have a connection, and I was glad that I could have him with me, took him around to tour the clubhouse and let him hang out with us. He came out on the field with me, he took some ground balls, played catch, stretched with us. Probably a fun day all around for both of us, but a little more special for him.” 

    Tellez met Cooper and his parents last year in Buffalo, N.Y., where the California native quickly added to his fan base when he offered an autographed broken bat to Cooper. On the 25th, Cooper traded an autographed Tellez baseball card to the fan who caught the rookie’s home-run ball in exchange for the souvenir and promptly returned the milestone ball to Tellez.

    “[Hitting 20] is pretty special,” Tellez said. “One of those things that a lot of people dream of and work hard to do, but I couldn’t be more grateful to be in the position I am, with the organization I’m with, and everybody who’s gotten me to this point.”  (Brudnicki - mlb.com - 9/25/2019)

  • Jan 24, 2020: Rowdy Tellez is a big proponent of homework. The man who meticulously kept notes on his opponents to maintain a competitive advantage throughout the Minor Leagues has continued to record personal tidbits during his time in the Majors, despite having a plethora of information readily available at his fingertips, because he places a sense of importance on compiling as much background information as possible. The 24-year-old first baseman emphasizes having that personal framework because he’s spent a significant portion of his career trying to show people—whom Tellez believes didn’t do their own homework—that he isn’t who they thought he was.

    “I wanted to prove them wrong about me being a good teammate,” he said. “I wanted to prove them wrong in that I couldn’t hit [with velocity], I wanted to prove them wrong that I wasn’t an adaptable player. And I wanted to prove that for 894 picks [in the 2013 draft] teams missed . . . for 29 rounds teams missed.”

  • Not just a courtesy

    Tellez was touted as a high-round talent ahead of the draft, but he slid down the board because teams didn’t do enough homework on him and his commitment to the University of Southern California, one he was hoping not to fulfill if he had a shot to play professionally. When the Blue Jays snagged him on the third day and in the 30th round, Tellez wasn’t even sure the organization expected to sign him, instead intending to do a favour for the slugger’s longtime coach and mentor, Dee Brown.

    “No kid has the dream of slipping to the 30th round,” Tellez said. “I was still a 30th-round pick. “I was a courtesy pick for [Brown], who was scouting me and drafted me. He was the guy who taught me everything about baseball, so it was kind of a courtesy pick for him. That’s what I was, and I wanted to prove everybody wrong, that I wasn’t just a courtesy pick.”

    After getting his first callup to the Majors in 2018 and spending the majority of ’19 at the game’s highest level, Tellez combined to hit .241/.299/.475 with 25 home runs, 28 doubles and 68 RBIs over 134 games for Toronto. But just making it isn’t enough for the native of California.

    “I knew I was going to be here,” Tellez said. “There was no question about that in my mind. Now, having success and having a sustainable big league career is what’s going to prove everybody wrong.”

  • A chip on his shoulder

    Tellez intends to continue proving people wrong in Dunedin, Fla., when the Blue Jays' Spring Training begins and he starts his fight to be on the team’s Opening Day roster. Tellez split time between first base and designated hitter last year, but he was well aware that the club went into the winter discussing a need at first base. When Toronto signed Travis Shaw to a one-year deal with the intention of having him spend most of his time at first, Tellez became the underdog.

    “People can doubt me all they want -- it just fuels the fire,” Tellez said. “The underdog thing is something that’s been my entire career. Being a 30th-round pick, spending a lot of time in Triple-A, I’ve always been labelled an underdog, so that just fuels the fire. I’m going in every year like I always do, to impress and come back out on top.”

  • Putting in the work.

    Tellez made a strong early impression at the Blue Jays’ annual WinterFest, when he brought with him more muscle mass and fewer pounds.

    “Everybody expects me to fail, so I like to prove people wrong and I do it every time,” he said. “I’m just going to keep doing what I do and keep going in and putting in the work I can. I know I’ve impressed some of the people in the organization with the way I came in here, with the way I changed my body, how much stronger I got, and that’s what I like to do. I like to come in and impress people, surprise people and show them that I’m not just a throw-in player.”

    He also spent his 2019  offseason making slight adjustments to his swing—lowering his leg kick and standing more upright in the box—and working on pitch recognition and selection to have fewer holes.

    “Rowdy’s going to have a chance,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “I’m a fan of Rowdy. He’s still a young kid. Some guys take a little longer, some guys do it faster. That’s above-average power that he’s got and you don’t find that everywhere, so Rowdy’s going to get a chance to make the club.” (A Brudnicki - MLB.com - Jan 24, 2020)

Batting
  • With Tellez, we're always talking about enormous home run power—lefthanded power that rates a 65 on the 20-80 scouting scale. Get out the tape measure! Rowdy has more than pull power, hitting them far over the opposite field wall, too. His swing is compact and explosive. He has loft within his lefthanded stroke.

    When he’s locked into that left-center gap, whether it be against lefties or righties, he’s going to be a tough out. (Spring, 2019)

  • Tellez has always has shown feel for hitting and good control for the strike zone, and he’s got plus power to punish mistakes when pitchers miss. He chased plenty of breaking balls early but adjusted and started laying off them, and he probably has enough bat speed to catch up to good fastballs. And he has a 50 for his hit tool. (Spring, 2018)

    The thump in Rowdy's power comes from his physical strength, rather than pure bat speed.. His timing at the plate improved in the 2018 season and he doesn't punch out a ton. (Spring 2019)

  • Rowdy comes only in extra large. He is a big guy, like David Ortiz and Ryan Howard. He has a powerful lower half of his body.

    “I’ve always had power,” Tellez said. “I’ve known I have power, but last year (2016) is when I really started to figure it out and I started becoming much more polished as a hitter.

    “Knowing what pitches were coming, setting up pitchers and understanding how they were going to pitch me helped. It’s not about your swing and your mechanics. It’s about understanding and learning and having a plan and an approach as to how you’re going to hit.”

  • Tellez has a big lefthanded swing with the ability to pull it and lift the ball with his quick hands and smooth stroke, whipping the barrel through the zone. His power has a chance to be amazing, with the ability to drive the ball to the opposite field gap. He has stunning pull-side power and natural loft in his swing. He also excels at driving the ball to the opposite field.

    He looks to get his hands extended, but can be beaten up inside. He hangs in well vs. good lefthanded pitchers.

    "I've always been confident in understanding the type of hitter I am and the type of hitter I will be and can be. I'm not saying I neglect my offense, or my defense, but I'm just most confident in hitting," Tellez said in 2016.

  • Tellez is a pure hitter with a sound and patient approach at the plate. He has impressive hand-eye coordination and a real feel for hitting. He is going to be a solid middle-of-the-order hitter.

    Rowdy is aggressive, but not to a fault, trusting his hands.

    “Knowing how to be a hitter,” said Tellez describes it. “I’ve always believed that to hit with power, the first thing you need to do is to learn how to hit.

    “So becoming a comfortable hitter, knowing the zone, knowing what I can and can’t do and just using the whole field—I feel I did those things really well.”

  • He takes a good approach to the plate, rarely swinging and missing in the strike zone. He has loose hands at the plate, with a quick left handed stroke that features natural extension and loft. When Tellez gets pull-happy, his swing gets long, but he has lowered his hands in his load and reduced his bat wrap, making his swing more compact. 

    “He’s got a really good swing, a lot of naturalness and rhythm to it, and he’s going to come into some power which has already started to show,” Blue Jays GM Tony LaCava said. "Power without plate discipline is not quite as exciting, and is something that usually doesn’t transition well.” (May, 2016)

  • Rowdy grinds through his at-bats, working counts and eventually turning things around.

    “He’s a consistent worker, and a lot of credit goes to him for being proactive and seeking out daily opportunities to improve,” farm director Gil Kim said. “Hitting coach Stubby Clapp has worked tirelessly with him, and both manager Bobby Meacham and infield coordinator Mike Mordecai have really helped him improve as a defender.”

  • September 6, 2018: Tellez made Major League history by becoming the first player to record extra-base hits in each of his first three plate appearances.

  • September 7, 2018: Rowdy is apparently starting to make the Daily Double part of his regular routine. Tellez made Major League history for the second consecutive game during a 3-2 victory over Cleveland. If four doubles in his first two games wasn't enough, Tellez added two more in his third game.

    The 23-year-old became the first player since 1913 to record six doubles over his first three games. He also became the first American League rookie to hit six doubles over a three-game span at any point of the season since Joe DiMaggio in 1936.

  • April 11, 2019: Nathan Eovaldi throws the ball really, really hard. Rowdy Tellez swings the bat really, really hard. If you put those things together and you get good contact, you’re going to get a ball that was hit really, really, reeeeaaaaally hard. That’s what happened in Boston.

    Tellez smashed a two-run bomb off of Eovladi in the third inning of tonight’s game in Boston. The speed of the ball off the bat was registered at a whopping 115.2 miles per hour and, according to Statcast, travelled 505 feet. If that’s correct, it means Tellez has hit the longest home run in Fenway Park history, surpassing the famous red seat Ted Williams homer from all the way back in 1946.

  • June 13, 2019: The grand slam from Tellez made him the first rookie in Blue Jays history with two grand slams to his name.

  • August 13, 2019: Tellez says that he’s adjusted his stance to be slightly more upright, which gets him back to the “normal” feeling he had in prior seasons. This came from a conversation with Buffalo hitting coach Corey Hart, who also helped Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernández, among others, rediscover their swings during demotions earlier this season. Tellez believes that this will allow him to drive the ball to the opposite field on pitches that he was fouling off earlier in the season.

    “I wasn’t playing very well. I wasn’t playing up to what I was supposed to be doing,” Tellez said. “They needed to do whatever they could to help the team win and that was an option they had to make. I accepted it and went down there with a positive mindset, the mindset that I needed to get better and improve on what I was doing. I was able to do that and get back up here."

    The Blue Jays recalled Rowdy Tellez from Triple-A Buffalo prior to the game at Rogers Centre and plan to give the first baseman another opportunity to prove himself down the stretch.

    The 24-year-old opened the season with Toronto and appeared in 78 games, in which he hit 14 homers and drove in 40 runs. Manager Charlie Montoyo was more concerned with the numbers that support those counting stats, like Tellez’s .227 average and .280 on-base percentage.

    “In the big leagues, they find your hole and they keep going at it,” Montoyo said. “He couldn’t make an adjustment with that, so it seemed like everybody was throwing either high fastballs or sliders in on him, and he was swinging and missing. He had to make an adjustment.” (K Matheson - MLB.com  - August 13, 2019)

  • Rowdy also spent his 2019 offseason making slight adjustments to his swing—lowering his leg kick and standing more upright in the box—and working on pitch recognition and selection to have fewer holes. (Jan. 24, 2020)

  • As of the start of the 2021 season, Rowdy's career Major League stats were a .250 batting average, 33 home runs and 138 hits with 91 RBI in 553 at-bats.
Fielding
  • Rowdy has limited range and athleticism at first base. He needs to continue working on his below-average defense. He puts in a lot of work to be a better defender with improved footwork around the first base bag. His body will require continued maintenance as well. He provides a big target.

    Tellez gets a 45 for his arm, but only a 40 for his below-average defense. He is a below-average runner. (Spring 2019)

  •  Tellez will not become a Keith Hernandez, but his hard work to improve has allowed him to become fringe-average defender.

    "He's gotten better and better it seems every time we go out there," said Bobby Meacham, New Hampshire Fisher Cats skipper. "[He's got a] long way to go, but he's doing very well right now and I expect him, when it's all said and done, to be at least a Major League average first baseman."

    Like his offense, Tellez's defense is rounding into form as he has committed just one error in 214 chances this season, helping New Hampshire to a .978 fielding percentage, second-best in the league.

    But Tellez knows the best way for him to keep developing is to stay grounded and not let either high or low moments dictate the player he knows he is, one who is confident and willing to work hard to get better.

    "His improvement over the last couple of years, from when I saw him in just Spring Training alone, shows you he's willing to put in work to get things done to get to where he needs to be," said Meacham. "So I think the future is bright for Rowdy." (5/17/2016)

Running
  • Rowdy is not very fast, a below-average runner. He was timed at 7.42 in 2012 in the 60.

  • Tellez is going to be a base-clogger. He only gets a 20 on the 20-80 scouting scale.
Career Injury Report
  • August 8, 2015: Tellez was on the D.L. with a hamate bone injury.

    “We were in Daytona Beach, Florida and on just a little base hit up the middle, I broke my hand,” Tellez said of the injury. “I got to first base and couldn’t open up my hand.”

    But he played in the Arizona Fall League in 2015.

  • July 19-27, 2016: Rowdy was on the D.L.

  • Aug. 17, 2020: Toronto Blue Jays slugger Rowdy Tellez has entered concussion protocol after taking an elbow to the face in Monday’s win over the Baltimore Orioles.

    The incident occurred in the seventh inning, when Tellez took contact from Renato Nunez while reaching into the base-path to make a defensive play. Tellez temporarily remained in the game before being lifted for a pinch-hitter.

    Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said the 25-year-old is considered day-to-day.

  • Sept 9-28, 2020: Rowdy was on the IL with right knee strain.