This is a less-than-straight-forward dart throw. “Watch your head! Incoming dart!” Mostly because Rowdy Tellez has a minefield of playing time concerns. I don’t fully trust Travis Shaw, even though I predicted he’d win the NL MVP in 2019. That never stops getting funny. You can mock me about Delino DeShields Jr. You can call me a giant dope for five years of adulation over Josh Rutledge and Ian Stewart. You can even say I might’ve been a little goofy about loving German Marquez last year. But calling Travis Shaw my preseason NL MVP selection is so off-the-wall bonkers in retrospect, even I have to shake my head. How many players qualified for the 2019 NL MVP? 300? 400? Well, I think he finished dead last. Yo, Grey, you are smart in the opposite sense of that word. Any hoo! Travis Shaw is blocking Rowdy Tellez. At worst, Shaw is a platoon player, which hurts Tellez and Shaw, and, in a shortened season, I don’t want any part of any platoon player, outside of daily leagues with bench hitters capable of filling in. In a shortened season, maximizing at-bats is going to be critical. Optimism for Rowdy Tellez will also incidentally hurt Teoscar Hernandez, another dart throw, and Derek Fisher, who I like more than most (and might Dart Throw too). As Karens say, something’s gotta give, as they snap for help at nail salons. If Rowdy plays 1st base and Shaw gets DH, Fisher goes to the bench or to the outfield in place of Teoscar. Not great for those other guys, but Rowdy can be interesting in his own right. Audience screams, “Tellez something we don’t know!” I’m about to. So, what can we expect from Rowdy Tellez for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a great dart throw?
All of these prospects are filling up the Dart Throw bin, huh? Trick question! Rowdy Tellez is no longer a prospect. Not in the traditional sense, at least. He hit 21 homers last year in only 111 games, and 370 ABs for the Jays. You surprised to hear that? Well, I was surprised to write it. That was with only a 21.6% HR/FB% and a 37.7% fly ball rate. He also had a 41.6% Hard Contact rate, league average was 38%. A 23.7% line drive rate, league average was 21.4%. He was top 50 for exit velocity (dead even with Cody Bellinger), and top 30 for barrels per plate appearance percentage. That’s top 10%. As I said in my 1st basemen rankings — which are from an easy decade ago, right? — I mentioned how I almost wrote a Rowdy Tellez sleeper post, well, in some ways, that’s what this is. Tellez was killing the ball last year in the majors. His biggest flaw in his game last year was his average of .227 — Marla Gibbs says, “Get off my doorstep!” — but that came with a .267 BABIP. All that hard contact should lead to a .285+ BABIP, and his xBA was .250. That’s neutral luck, by the by. If Tellez gets lucky, well, he hit .314 in the majors in a small sample in 2018. Travis Shaw should’ve never been acquired, and I think the Jays know that, and won’t squander Tellez’s potential, even if it means Shaw is platooned or just used off the bench. Tellez has iffy playing time concerns, but still worth a dart throw for his upside.