Rowdy Tellez was a popular power pick in the latter stages of fantasy baseball drafts entering this season. Alas, playing time and production have not come to fruition. But perhaps the ole ‘change of scenery’ will do the trick? Here are the particulars:
First baseman Rowdy Tellez is headed to the Brewers, as @Ken_Rosenthal said. Didn’t have a spot in Toronto. Jays need relief, and right-hander Trevor Richards, sources said, is going to Toronto. He’s now been dealt twice in the last six weeks.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 6, 2021
The Jays also added MiLB right-hander Bowden Francis in this deal, but that’s not actionable for fantasy baseball this year, which is what we care about here at fake teams dot com.
It’s been a little journey for Trevor Richards, but really what we are here for is Tellez’s outlook in Milwaukee, right? I don’t see Richards getting saves this year, despite his solid 3.69 ERA. It should be noted that Richards has a disturbingly high 48.0% fly ball rate, coupled with a mere 22.0% ground ball rate. Sure, it comes with a shiny 11.65 K/9, but that’s sorta scary stuff given his new digs in Toronto. So again, let’s get back to Tellez...
What we have is a powerful slugger, one who had a lot of swing-and-miss in 2019—a 14.4% swinging strike rate, to be exact. Then in 2020 we had something to act on, a dramatic trimming of said rate, down to a better-than-average 10.6% rate. Essentially, the big man who oozes power decided to focus more on making contact, and the approach paid dividends. His .283/.346/.540 slash line was tantalizing, especially with the promise of more playing time.
Enter 2021, where Tellez has 151 plate apperances under his belt, with a mere 10.5% swinging strike rate—or right in line with his 2020 gains. One big difference is this year’s .245 BABIP, with otherwise positive signs...he’s got a career-high 49.1% hard hit rate and a .251 expected batting average. He’s got a .267 wOBA, but a .327 xwOBA. He’s also got a career-high 13.2% barrel rate and the best average exit velocity of his career (92.6 MPH). I don’t know if this is Jace Peterson or Keston Hiura insurance, but I’d be just fine stashing Tellez in DEEP leagues, or vaulting him to the top of my watch list if I was in a shallow format. Lefty power has long been a thing to target in Miller Park, and Tellez certainly fits the mold.
There are enough encouraging signs under the proverbial hood for me to take a shot on Tellez if he starts to get playing time...but what say you all? Buying in? Or is that draft day cost still leaving a sour taste in your mouth?