According to Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic, Tennessee Smokies’ outfielder Nelson Velazquez is being promoted to Triple-A Iowa. A corresponding move has yet to be announced.
This is a move that seems overdue. Last November, the Cubs added Velazquez to the 40-man roster after he crushed it in the Arizona Fall League. In 26 AZFL games, Velazquez slashed .385/.480/.712 with nine homers and 24 RBI. That came after a season where Velazquez hit .270 with 20 homers and 17 stolen bases across two levels.
Velazquez was 0-7 with five strikeouts during Spring Training. Maybe that’s what led to the decision to place him at Double-A to begin the year. However, based on what he showed towards the end of 2021 and in the fall league, the case could be made that he should’ve been on the Triple-A roster from the beginning. So far this year in 22 games with Double-A Tennessee, Velazquez is hitting .288/.394/.700 (1.094 OPS) with nine homers, 17 RBI, and 5 SB.
In a piece written by Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic, Cubs director of hitting Justin Stone and VP of player development Matt Dorey helped give Nelson Velazquez the tools and data needed to kick-start a change in swing mechanics, which has paid off immensely.
According to MLB Pipeline, the former 2017 fifth-round draft pick is now the 16th-ranked Cubs prospect. He won’t be a prospect much longer if he keeps this up.
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