After a big season between South Bend and Tennessee, Cubs prospect Nelson Velazquez is destroying Arizona Fall League pitching. He has become a major problem for pitchers this fall.
Velazquez finished the 2021 campaign with a .270/.333/.496 slash line in 103 games. He mashed 20 homers and 23 doubles to finish the season with an .823 OPS.
Perhaps the 22-year-old outfielder was overshadowed by top prospect Brennen Davis and even the new prospects that came to the Cubs' system following the trade deadline sell-off back in July.
That case has merit because the phenom is one of the best performers in Arizona so far. In 19 games, Velazquez has a .392/.489/.734 slash line, good for a 1.223 OPS. He is catching the eyes of everyone paying attention. He ended the season ranked No. 29 in the Cubs system and could be gaining steam to move up that list once Spring Training comes around next year.
On Monday, MiLB.com contributor Gerard Gilberto wrote about Velazquez, outlining how the outfielder is putting himself in a position to make an impact on the big league club one day.
Nelson Velazquez, South Bend (69 games), Tennessee (34 games): There were only two players in the Cubs system with at least 17 homers and 17 stolen bases this season, and only two players hit at least 20 long balls. Velazquez was the only player on both lists.
“He's always had really good power. … But he's really showed, as he went to Double-A and cut down on his strikeout rate, he handles the breaking ball better,” Dorey said. “A little bit more mature of a two-strike approach. So, he's becoming more of a complete offensive player.”
The Cubs No. 29 prospect batted .270/.333/.496 with 20 homers, 73 RBIs and 56 runs scored across two levels. His 132 strikeouts were more than anyone else in the system besides Christopher Morel, but Velazquez’s numbers actually got better after the promotion to Double-A.
The 22-year-old’s strikeout rate went from 33.7 percent in South Bend to 25.5 percent in Tennessee and his average, OBP and slugging percentage all improved as well.
Velazquez doesn’t get high grades for his speed, but he was successful in 17 of 19 stolen base attempts this season. He does, however, have an impressive arm that profiles well for right field, a position he played the majority of his innings at this year and racked up eight assists.
The Carolina, Puerto Rico native and 2017 fifth-rounder is finishing his season with Mesa in the Arizona Fall League.
Yes, it's just the Arizona Fall League, but Cubs fans have to love this performance from a prospect who has only gotten better as he rises through the ranks.