Brewers: Forget The Platoon, Rowdy Tellez Deserves To Play Every Day
By David Gasper
Entering the 2022 season, first base was the biggest question mark on this Milwaukee Brewers roster. Could Rowdy Tellez hit enough to earn the job? Could Keston Hiura bounce back and take the role? Would it be a platoon?
We’re a month into the season and so far the answer has been a platoon. Craig Counsell has given Rowdy Tellez days off against left-handed starters and inserted right-handed hitting Keston Hiura into the lineup at first base. Perhaps this was with the hope that one of them would get hot and seize the everyday job for himself.
Well, one of them has.
It’s become quite clear that Rowdy Tellez has gotten hot and it’s time for the Brewers to declare him the everyday starting first baseman.
As much as the Brewers love Keston Hiura and want to get him the opportunities to get back into a groove offensively, they have to do what’s best for the ball club. Right now, what’s best is having Rowdy Tellez in the lineup every single day.
Including Wednesday night, Rowdy Tellez has homered in three of his last four games and is up to seven home runs on the season, culminating with the mammoth grand slam followed up by a two run shot he hit against the Reds.
He enters Thursday with a .951 OPS and a 171 OPS+, both of which are tops on the team. Tellez is in the 97th percentile or higher in all of baseball in Barrel%, Max Exit Velo, xwOBA, and xSLG. Basically, he’s hitting the ball hard and having a lot of success.
This is someone, especially on an offense that has been desperate for big time production, that needs to be in the lineup every single day. Regardless of who’s on the mound. There aren’t too many lefty pitchers within the NL Central, so he’s not out of the lineup too often, but he deserves to be in there.
Frankly, his splits against lefties really aren’t bad. In fact, they’re in favor of playing against lefties. In 14 ABs against lefties this year, Tellez is hitting .286/.375/.571 with a .946 OPS and one homer. In 61 ABs against righties, Tellez is hitting .262/.328/.623 with a .951 OPS and now six homers. Granted these are small sample sizes, especially against lefties, but his splits are fairly even.
But for his career, Tellez has been solid against lefties. He hits .265/.318/.449 with a .767 OPS against southpaws and hits .239/.304/.472 with a .776 OPS against righties. That OPS is again, fairly even when it comes to splits. Sure more of his home runs come against righties, but he still produces against lefties.
Basically, Tellez doesn’t need a platoon. He’s swinging a hot bat, he has even splits, and he belongs in the lineup everyday. Whether it’s at first base or DH, he needs to play. He’s started in 18 of the Crew’s 24 games so far this season.
I understand the desire to give Keston Hiura a chance to get going and get his ABs in. He’s a former first round pick the franchise has invested a lot in. They want to see him succeed. But Hiura is still trying to figure things out while Tellez is already there. Hiura is hitting just .219 with a .637 OPS and one home run. Hiura will need to figure things out from the bench or from a different position.
It’s time to declare Rowdy Tellez the everyday first baseman in Milwaukee. He’s earned it, he continues to prove it each day, and he gives the Crew the best chance to win.
This is looking like a breakout season for Tellez. It’s best to just let him do his thing and produce in the heart of the lineup.