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The Quest for an .800+ OPS hitter Part One - Rowdy Tellez


jakedood

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So I was thinking recently about the number of quality batters required by teams who succeed in the playoffs, and how the Brewers compare and had a brief look into the stats. Taking an .800+ OPS as a good barometer, the Brewers had one hitter last year who passed this mark (Hunter Renfroe, now gone).

The Astros had four qualified hitters breaching this mark, including Altuve with .900+ and Alvarez with over 1.000.

The Phillies had Bryce Harper (included as he did have 370 PA's), Kyle Schwarber & JT Realmuto.

The Dodgers had Trea Turner, Will Smith, Mookie Betts and then Freddie Freeman with a .900+ OPS.

Yankees had Aaron Judge with 1.100 OPS (almost counts double) and Anthony Rizzo.

In other words, a team seems to need at least two, and probably three comfortably above average hitters to be successful.

This brings me to Tellez.... if I told you going into 2022 that his walk rate would jump 3% and ISO would go from .170 to .240 you'd be thinking "come to daddy". However his final slash line didn't quite bear fruit, with a .219/.306/.461, and in particular the average - he hit for .247 Career average in 850 AB's, and had an xBA of .252 last season.

I actually lost count of how many times, especially in the first few months, he was roping balls just short of the wall, and by the end of May, he was top three in expected slugging percentage.

He's never really going to be a high average guy, with a launch angle of around 15 degrees (also moved up last season by 2 degrees), he is a definite slugger, and although the reduced shift may help a little, it's unlikely to make a huge difference for him. That being said, projections have him expectedly batting around .245-.250 range, and I think he even has the ability to be a .260-.270 hitter based on the quality of contact he produces with average exit velo's in the 91-92 range.

His expected slugging was higher than Mookie Betts, Vlad Guerrero Jr, J Rod, and just below Kyle Tucker/Goldschmidt, and just ten points below Pete Alonso.

Projecting these stats out, and with his slugging ability, I think it's actually quite possible that an .800 OPS is his baseline for next year, and I think he has the potential for even an 850+ season.

I think last season, despite the 35 HR's was actually a down season for him in many ways. A bounce back to the mean could mean the difference between 80 RBIs and 100 RBIs, particularly if his home runs come with men on base. Pete Alonso had 15 solo shots out of 40 HRs (37.5%), whereas Rowdy has 19 out of 35 (54.2%).

The other real standout for me is that he's projected to half his number of GiDP outs from 20 to ten next season, whether this is shift-based or not I'm not sure but again could make a small yet noticeable difference to the offense.

As such, Tellez is one of the players I can see being a five hole hitter who can really take this offense to the next level if he can regress to his career norms in terms of BA while maintaining the improvements he made in ISO and walk rate last year, and if the brewers can put men on base in front of him a little more often.

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Tellez should benefit by not just the shift rule dictating no more than 2 fielders right of second base but the fact that they can't lineup beyond the infield dirt.

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6 hours ago, JohnBriggs12 said:

Tellez should benefit by not just the shift rule dictating no more than 2 fielders right of second base but the fact that they can't lineup beyond the infield dirt.

For sure, Tellez ripped a lot of balls through this area, and should hopefully increase his impact, but I've tried to avoid too much discussion on this as I don't have a ton of data on the impact that marginalising the shift will have (I say marginalising because there will still be someone positioned just the other side of the bag at 2B)

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14 hours ago, jakedood said:

For sure, Tellez ripped a lot of balls through this area, and should hopefully increase his impact, but I've tried to avoid too much discussion on this as I don't have a ton of data on the impact that marginalising the shift will have (I say marginalising because there will still be someone positioned just the other side of the bag at 2B)

Some of the smartest baseball people I know or read are suggesting the impact will not be large, possibly even single-digit batting average changes for groundball pull lefties. I wouldn't pin too many hopes on that changing Tellez's profile, though it certainly should help him somewhat because despite his lumbering slugger profile, he puts the ball in play quite a bit.

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13 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Some of the smartest baseball people I know or read are suggesting the impact will not be large, possibly even single-digit batting average changes for groundball pull lefties. I wouldn't pin too many hopes on that changing Tellez's profile, though it certainly should help him somewhat because despite his lumbering slugger profile, he puts the ball in play quite a bit.

I agree on both points here, and as @JohnBriggs12said, it's maybe more the bloke halfway in the outfield that'll be an advantage

It is interesting how he keeps his SO rate very much under control, and hopefully can help him with a little luck BABIP wise to make full use of those balls in play

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