The Brewers slugger, Rowdy Tellez, finds his stay on the injured list longer than expected. A fracture to his left ring finger which required twelve stitches after colliding with the wall while shagging balls during batting practice before Saturday’s contest in Cincinnati. Tellez was conditioning to get back onto the field, reports Brewers beat writer Adam McCalvy. Prior to the unusual situation, Tellez was supposed to be activated off the IL on Tuesday before the Crew starts a three-game set in Philadelphia before returning to American Family Field to face the Atlanta Braves in the upcoming weekend. Tellez, who was placed on the 10-day IL on July 5th with right elbow inflammation looked to use the All-Star break as a reset button going into the second half of the season. Unfortunately, the fractured finger has derailed the comeback for at least four more weeks.
After a career year in 2022, where he hit 35 homers and tallied 89 RBIs along with a .461 slugging percentage, the 1st baseman has found himself in a slump seemingly for the entire season up to this point. In 79 games, Tellez has a .388 slugging percentage with 12 homers and 36 RBIs. The last thirty games for Tellez haven’t been kind to him either posting just a .206 slugging percentage and 0 homers in that span. According to Baseball Reference, Tellez possesses a substandard 82 OPS+ this season in comparison to his 114 OPS + in 2022. The MLB average OPS + is 100. After analyzing the slugger’s numbers within MLB’s Baseball Savant, it is apparent that Tellez is not hitting the ball as hard as he was a year ago. In 2022, Tellez had a 46% hard-hit percentage which was the second-highest in his career. This season that number has dropped to 38.5% which marks a career low. Tellez is also being less aggressive early in the count. His first pitch swing % is down to 12.5% while his career average in that category is 24.5%. He is doing less damage early in the count compared to the rest of his career, especially on fastballs. Tellez is swinging at 12.3% less first-pitch fastballs in 2023 and when he does swing his whiff % is 14 points higher than a season ago.
The Brewers would love Tellez to become the kind of player he was during the 2021/2022 campaigns. According to ESPN, Milwaukee ranks 25th in team OPS and 26th in team slugging percentage across Major League Baseball this season. Having a thump in the middle of the lineup could carry the Crew to their fifth playoff appearance in six seasons. As for now, Brewers fans will have to wait and see regarding Tellez’s health and the impact he has on the team for the upcoming playoff push as we move past the mid-summer classic toward the home stretch.