TORONTO – On Tuesday afternoon, shortly after his club announced they would be recalling Rodi Teles from a month-long triple-double, someone asked Toronto Blue Ace manager Charlie Montoya what he wanted to see from his first rookie debut.
"What do I want to see?" Montoya repeated. "Boyfriend strikes with bombs."
Telelez can certainly do so after striking out 14 over 78 games before his split in mid-July and seven in 26 games with the Buffalo Bison. But in today's MLB with three real results, everybody hits a bomb. The health of the total number of homes is not worth it unless it is associated with an equally significant number of walks. The basic half of the equation for OPS is as important as the weakness.
And with Telelez's OSS sitting at 0.715 when sent, including a mark of 0.606 during the 35 games preceding his digging, it was clear that the 24-year-old needed some time away from the MLB pressure cooker approach the plate and find a way to mount it to a higher clip. Plus, he started beating up a well-known scheme, as Montoya went on to explain.
"What happens in the big leagues is they find your hole and they keep going," Montoya said. "And he couldn't make adjustments with that. It seemed that everyone was either high balls or sliders on him. And he was swinging and missing. So he had to make adjustments. And he said he went there and he did."
Checking the story. Here's where pitchers attacked Tales with a fast ball during his time with the Blue Jays earlier this season (left) and the rate he was turning toward them (right):
He has a very fast ball. And the many swings that Telelez took to those fields. But here's what his results looked like on those swings, with Telelez's average rising against those fastballs on the left and his slimming percentage on the right:
If Telees does damage against all those high balls, you will see dark yellow and red splits in the zone. But he wasn't. It was a hole in his swing, an opposition pitcher recognized and exploited.
Similarly, here to the left is where Thelez was sliding (we'd assume Montoy was wrong and meant sliders farther than inside) while on the right is how often he turned to them:
And here are the results of those swings, again with average attenuation on the left and percent attenuation on the right:
Another boxing bout attacked that Thelez had trouble opposing. Clearly, he needed to do something different to address the weaknesses. And so, after hitting .227 / .280 / .436 in over 78 games with the Blue Aussies, he went outside Buffalo.
Everything he did from now on is. Bat .366 / .450 / .688, literally forcing the path to a frightening 34-for-93 specialty streak over 26 games. He has blocked 16 extraordinary hits. He reduced his shooting rate by six percent. And he went about as many times in a month with Buffalo (14) as he did in half a season with Toronto (17). What happened?
"Everything I did was right," Thelez said. "That is it."
On his first day with the Bison, Téléz sat down with club coach Cory Hart to watch a video of his 2018 swing as he progressed and his swing in recent weeks as he struggled. They worked from the corner of his legs all the way to the head position, and found that Theles developed a slight hunting that prevented him from pushing the barrel to certain pitches. Hart was surprised that if Teles was repaired on the plate, he would make more consistent contact.
"It didn't change my legs, it didn't change where I stood in the box – literally nothing but standing up straight," Thelez said. "I think it only helps when my bat enters the zone, and I keep myself in the zone a little longer."
The adjustment is pretty subtle in the pre-set of Teleuz, as you can see below, the photo on the left that comes with his last appearance on the Blue Dragons plate prior to his demotion, and the one on the right comes from his last game with Buffalo on Sunday:
But it is more pronounced when he lifts the front foot while the pitcher delivers:
It took several games for Telees to find his comfort zone, but the results came quickly. He had two goals on the night in his fourth game with Buffalo, and fired three shots the following day. Two games later, he went deep twice, starting a six-hit series that went 9-for-21 with four homers and a double.
"It seemed to me that I was back to normal. I spent the month I was looking for here. And then, when I got down there, it was like, "Okay, this is where I'm supposed to be," Thales said. "By being able to point out what I was doing wrong and I can accept that this is what I was and that I should change – it was just a little thing. I mean, after talking about how I'm standing upright and kind of hugging, I kind of I looked and I was like, "I wouldn't even understand that."
Of course, adjusting Telelez's attitude will only help him when he turns in good pitches for goal, which has not done enough for the end of his big-league match earlier this season. Through 286 plate appearances prior to his termination, Teleuz swung 42.3 percent of the pitches he threw out of the strike zone, well above the league average of 30.6 percent. That led to a 14.8% swing in strike rate, which was also north of the league average of 11.1%.
Becoming more disciplined is one of the hardest things to score, especially for a young player like Teleuze who has fewer minor-league options left and faces constant pressure to produce to become a major player. But the Blue Jays will no doubt want to see something closer to the walk rate of 12.8 percent and 22.9 percent shooting rate that he has posted over 26 games with Buffalo, instead of the walk rate of 5.9 percent and 29 percent. % shootout rate he announced before being posted
Of course, Thelez knows that. He is well known for being dismantled in the first place – "I wouldn't say it's a surprise," he said – and the fact that he came down determined to improve and address what limited his performance fit his character. He revealed that he would watch more videos in advance than he had in the past. Plus, this time around, he will try to maintain a more positive mindset if he struggles and avoid trying to get the plate problem in search of results.
"It is frustrating because you are at the highest level and you put more pressure on yourself than you need to," he said. "But at the same time, it's one of the hardest things to do in the world is to play this game at the highest level. And I have to take it with a grain of salt as well and tell myself it's hard and always There will be tomorrow. Things like that are just to keep me going. "
Montoya will give Teles plenty of opportunities during his last 39 games in Toronto to prove that his swing adjustments are stuck. After all, the Blue Aussies are firmly in the player rating mode as they play a string of season losses. The club has to determine whether Telelez can be a regular player for them in the coming years, or whether they will need to fill a promising core of positions with a more established DC ticket. No one questions Telelez's power. Now, he must prove his approach.
"I want to see something better than he did. His PSU, I want to start getting better. Improving bats. And better access to the plate, "Montoya said. "We need to find out about Rudi. The main thing is he went there and did his job. He worked hard and did what we asked him to do. And that's why it's back. "