After being declared ineligible for his senior year at Lake Worth (Fla.) High, Velazquez returned to his native Puerto Rico and drew the eye of the Cubs, one of the few teams with an area scout on the island (former big leaguer Edwards Guzman).
He was a fifth-round choice with interesting tools who didn’t break out until 2021, when he reached Double-A and led the organization in extra-base hits (45), total bases (191), RBIs (73) and slugging (.496).
He proceeded to hit in the Arizona Fall League, earning MVP honors after leading the development circuit in home runs (nine) and OPS (1.191), securing a berth on Chicago’s 40-man roster.
Velazquez possesses a combination of bat speed and strength that has resulted in some of the system’s finest raw power and exit velocities in recent years.
During his pandemic downtime, he worked on improving his ability to locate and punish breaking pitches, which had previously been a problem, as well as calming down his active right-handed swing.
He’s still an aggressive hitter who will strike out, but he’s becoming better at tapping into his pop and driving balls to all fields in the air.
Velazquez has lost a step as he has grown older and currently has only ordinary speed, but he makes good use of it on the bases and in the outfield.
Last season, he swiped 17 bags in 19 tries and saw play at all three outfield positions.
He’s a powerful defender on the corners and average in the middle, with a strong arm that wiped 16 runners in 121 games between the Minors and the AFL last season.
How Much Does Nelson Velazquez Make?
Nelson Velazquez’s salary has not yet been released.