Blue Jays prospect Rowdy Tellez smiles while working with teammates at spring training.

Jays minor-league 1st baseman Rowdy Tellez more than just power

Toronto prospect thinks his way through baseball

TAMPA, Fla. — For Rowdy Tellez, success at the major-league level will come when he learns to merge his brain, alongside his obvious brawn.

For a better understanding of who Tellez, the Toronto Blue Jays best left-handed power-hitting prospect is, you have to look past his physique and see the complete package.

The second-year pro is smart enough to understand that it takes more than physical strength to be a good hitter in the majors.

“It has definitely been built over many years of working on it, putting in countless hours of time and, of course, having a big body is going to play into it but there’s a lot of smaller guys that have a lot of power.” the native Californian said, while sitting at a table at the Bobby Mattick Training Complex. “It’s your swing, your mechanics, how the ball comes off your bat, creating backspin, staying inside the ball, driving and keeping your hands there.

“There’s so much stuff that plays into it, its not just being big; it’s using your legs, your wrists, your hands, your forearms, everything plays into it.”

Just as Tellez works out to improve his body, the six-foot-four, 220-pound first baseman uses his favourite pastime of hunting to improve the mental aspect.

Whether it’s duck or elk, hunting is a great opportunity to not only practise his control, but it also fits in nicely with baseball’s off-season.

“You have to slow your heart rate down, definitely, because if your (heart is) beating and breathing hard you’ll look through the scope when you are big-game hunting, said Tellez, who turns 20 on March 16. “You’ll be shaking and moving up and down, so it’s going to look different.

“It’s just like hitting, you’re so intense and breathing and heart rates up, and everything looks so much faster but everything is right there when you relax, it just slows the game down.”

The results are showing as last year, in his first stint with the Lansig Lugnuts Single A team, he posted a .357 batting average, two home runs and seven walks in just 49 plate appearances.

Tellez realizes that baseball is a team game and he will need to focus on more areas than just hitting during this spring training.

“Just to be a better teammate and better player both on and off the field and overall improve my game and have fun,” the first baseman said.

Focusing on the complete package could propel Tellez to untold heights, especially when similarities are made to a baseball legend.

When you look at him, he is a modern day Babe Ruth.” said Tellez’s high school coach Jeff Carlson. “His stature and the way he swings the bat will draw comparisons as it did in high school.”

Follow Dario Passarelli @PapaDart