DUNEDIN, Fla. — Things are getting rowdy at Blue Jays minor-league camp.
Rowdy Tellez, a powerful first baseman drafted in the 30th round out of Elk Grove High School in 2013, is heading into his first full spring training with the Blue Jays.
According to Sports Illustrated, Tellez was expected to be selected in the first three rounds of last year’s draft, but his commitment to the University of Southern California led teams to believe he would not sign.
“It was a difficult decision because I was taken late in the draft and then I waited until the last day before the signing deadline to sign my contract,” Tellez said. “So I didn’t know if I was going to go to college but my family was just getting prepared for everything. [At] the last second I made my decision to come [to the Blue Jays organization], and it’s been great.”
The choice might have been a tough one, but the aggressiveness of the Toronto scouting department to sign the young slugger seemed to be the decisive factor.
“There were a lot of discussions with my area scout from the Blue Jays, [Darold] Brown, and the front office here,” Tellez explained. “It basically boiled down to what I want to do and I really wanted to play professional baseball.”
Tellez has been in camp since the beginning of February working on his conditioning and power, and he’s already noticed huge differences between high school and professional baseball.
“Everybody [in professional baseball] was the best player at their high school, the best player in their state; so you’re playing against all the top competition,” he said. “It’s better pitching, better hitting, faster runners, and everyone’s goals are the same – to make it to the major leagues. It’s a job now whereas in high school people may have just been playing to miss class or because their parents made them.”
Tellez has tremendous power, hitting nine home runs in only 94 plate appearances in his senior year of high school, but the 18-year-old knows he has a lot of work as he enters his first professional training camp.
“I’ve been here just sharpening up my tools, working on stuff in the cage like posture and hand placement,” the 6-foot-4 youngster said. “Then on the field I’ve been working on staying solid and just working on getting to my spots.
“It’s my first spring training so I don’t know what to expect but the guys are telling me it isn’t so bad. I’m just pretty excited, ready to go.”