More prospect fun for the big league Chicago Cubs! At least temporarily!
Outfield prospect Nelson Velazquez went from “still a little bit of hope” to “yo, watch out for that guy!” with a significant breakout last year, from High-A to Double-A, blowing up at the end of the minor league season, then crushing the Arizona Fall League. There were and are questions about his ability to hit a good pitcher, rather than just feasting on mistakes, but that has been central to this year’s improvement from Double-A to Triple-A. . He was added to the 40 men last fall for a reason, and it was the belief that he could eventually contribute to the major leagues (or perhaps continue to improve to the point where he was a regular).
And tomorrow, we will taste it:
From the Instagram story of Cubs prospect Nelson Velazquez: pic.twitter.com/YZNnjvoUDu
— Tim Stebbins (@tim_stebbins) May 29, 2022
I can confirm that Nelson Velazquez is indeed heading to Chicago.
—Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) May 29, 2022
With a doubleheader tomorrow and uncertainty on the court today, the Cubs know they’ll have room — one way or another — for Velazquez by tomorrow. It’s not entirely clear if he’ll take the place of Seiya Suzuki (finger, but not yet on IL), Chris Martin (who just made the list of mourners with no corresponding movement), or will simply be the 27th man of the day. But with Velazquez already on the 40-man roster, he was one of the few remaining logical choices for ‘we just need a guy who can come in and not have to give up somebody else’.
Which, again, isn’t to say there isn’t hope for a meaningful big league future for Velazquez. The 23-year-old slugger will likely hit a lot – and it could still be part of his game – but his contact quality is incredible. He’s a lot like Patrick Wisdom in that regard, but maybe with a little more contact in the zone, a little more swing and miss out of the zone, and maybe not MUCH as much power (yet).
It will likely be a short stint for Velazquez, who still has work to do in Iowa. But I think that can only help him grow to get a little taste of the big leagues, see some big league pitching, and then go back to working Triple-A with a little more information and experience.
I can’t wait to see him in action in the major league with fellow former Tennessee Smokie:
This photo was taken on April 6 at Kodak.
📸: @MicahHManuel1 #Cubs #SmokiesBaseball #FlyTheW #NelsonVelazquez #it’sdifferenthere #CubTogether @The_Goat1222 @Christo66021711 pic.twitter.com/Rmo9hodmmF
—Tennessee Smokies (@smokiesbaseball) May 29, 2022
These two started the year at Double-A Tennessee despite a widely held belief that they should probably be at Triple-A, and all they did was RAKE. This is how you react in this situation, and now they will both be in the big leagues before the end of May. It might not yet signal a changing of the guard or a turning of the page or the end of the rebuild or whatever phrase you want to use, but it’s really fun to finally see prospects break through again in the backyard. big.