Cubs OF Prospect Nelson Velazquez Continues to Rake at Every Level, Promoted to Triple-A Iowa

Nelson Velazquez isn’t exactly a household name, most prospects aren’t, but his stock has been steadily rising over the last two years, culminating in today’s announcement that the 23-year-old outfielder has been promoted to the Cubs Triple-A affiliate, the Iowa Cubs.

As mentioned in the Tweet above, Velazquez is batting a solid .288/.394/.700 line for Double-A Tennessee, that’s sure to be enough on its own to warrant promotion. However, since April 15, Velazquez is hitting .333/.449/.842 with 8 home runs, good for a 226(!) wRC+.

You may recall Velazquez won MVP honors in the 2021 Arizona Fall League. In 26 games in the AFL, he slashed .385/.480/.712 with 24 R, 24 RBI, and a league-leading nine HRs. That was following the 2021 season where he spent time at both South Bend and Tenessee while hitting a career-high 20 home runs.

Perhaps the biggest reason for his continued success is the change he made by ditching his big leg kick and improving his launch angle. Those changes have led to monster increases in his fly-ball rate. And those increases in his fly-ball rate have had a direct correlation with an increase in his power. Just check out these numbers:

2019 Low-A 35.8% 15.8%
2021 AA 46.6% 19.5%
2022 AA 55.3% 34.6%

So, yes, there’s a lot to be excited about with this promotion. And it’s not entirely out of the question that, should he continue to produce at this level, we could be seeing him before season’s end in Chicago.

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