The Chicago Cubs had not one but TWO weekly award winners in the farm system for their efforts this past week. So that’s neat.
Nelson Velazquez got off to a comically terrible start to the season, and immediately followed that with an equally comical hot stretch:
The Southern League Player of the Week is our very own Nelson Velazquez! With 4 home runs and 9 RBI, it must have been an easy choice. @The_Goat1222 #Cubs #SmokiesBaseball #CubTogether #ItsDifferentHere pic.twitter.com/mXzBtmX9WS
— Tennessee Smokies (@smokiesbaseball) April 25, 2022
⇒ Velazquez, first eight games: .156/.206/.281, 29 wRC+, 5.9% BB rate, 52.9% K rate
⇒ Next six games: .455/.520/1.227, 349 wRC+, 12.0% BB rate, 16.0% K rate
You can’t take much meaning away from either of those stretches, especially given the minor league schedule that has teams playing the same opposing club for the entire week (Tuesday through Sunday, off-day on Monday). Velazquez struggled badly against the Reds and Rays minor league staffs, and absolutely obliterated the Angels’ staff. We need a lot more data to know if he’s continued taking a step forward, and isn’t solely a guy who can beat up on mistakes, but who otherwise has too much swing-and-miss to be a regular.
Meanwhile, it was a pitcher who took home the other honor in the system:
Absolute dominance. @Riley_Martin16 has been named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Week! The lefty struck out 17 batters through just over seven innings against Delmarva.#MBPelicans pic.twitter.com/QqZCaLFrtg
— Myrtle Beach Pelicans (@Pelicanbaseball) April 25, 2022
Martin, who just turned 24, was the Cubs’ 6th rounder last year – a senior sign – and he is way, way, way too good for Low-A at this point. He has pitched four long relief outings, and over his 13.1 innings, he’s allowed basically nothing and struck out 27 batters (56.3%, lol). Even for a senior sign, relief-type arm at Low-A, those are eye-popping numbers. I’d really like to see him at South Bend sooner rather than later.