Chicago Cubs News: Nelson Velazquez making case to remain with Major League team
The sample size is admittedly small but Chicago Cubs outfielder Nelson Velazquez is making a strong case to remain with the Major League team.
Through his first 13 plate appearances with the Major League team this season, Velazquez is slashing .500/.615/1.000 with a 317 wRC+ and .650 wOBA. Perhaps, the most impressive part of Velazquez's approach this season is that he is not striking out. Velazquez has only struck out once while walking three times this season.
Velazquez's approach has not been lost on Cubs' beat reporters either.
The flaw in Velazquez's rookie season with the Cubs in 2022 was his offensive approach as he often looked overmatched in his plate appearances despite making hard contact when he did put the bat to the ball. Injuries likely forced Velazquez on the Major League roster longer than he should have been last season but with this renewed approach, the 24-year-old outfielder is making a strong case to remain with the Major League team.
Admittedly, it still seems rather likely that the Cubs will option Velazquez once center fielder Cody Bellinger is ready to return from the paternity list but the team should think twice before doing so.
Chicago Cubs outfielder Nelson Velazquez has earned on a spot on the team's 26-man roster.
The wiser decision for the Cubs would be to option third baseman Edwin Rios. Despite a Spring Training where his power display created a spot for him on the Opening Day roster, Rios has rarely been used by manager David Ross to begin the season. Part of that reasoning is that third baseman Patrick Wisdom is off to a hot offensive start but in matchups where there has been a clear need for the Cubs to use Rios' left-handed power, Ross has opted for an alternative.
If Ross is not going to use Rios regularly, there is little value he provides the team at the Major League level. Opting to keep Velazquez on the roster instead of Rios once Bellinger returns should be the move as Velazquez gives the team power off the bench while serving as a natural fourth outfielder.