Fall League Friday: Nelson Velazquez is on an absolute tear in Arizona
By the time next week rolls around, Nelson Velazquez might need his own weekly wrap.
Last week’s report mentioned Velazquez’s hot streak dating back to August and whether he could carry it into the Arizona Fall League and onto a 40-man roster spot in December. Over the last week, Velazquez is 11-for-25 with 3 home runs and a double in 6 games for the Mesa Solar Sox (7-6).
Any concern about his strikeout-to-walk ratio from last week (9:1) can settle for now. In his recent run, he has worked 5 walks to only 5 strikeouts. Through 9 games, Velazquez is slashing .395/.489/.658.
Andy Weber — another player vying for a spot on the 40-man roster this winter — also turned in an impressive week. The versatile infielder started a 4-game hit streak last Saturday with a 2-for-4 performance, including a triple — his first extra base hit of the AFL season. He is 7-for-17 during the streak, highlighted by a 3-hit performance that found him a home run short of the cycle.
Weber is currently sporting a .421 OBP through 8 games. This fall season could be big for Weber after struggling in his first stint in Double-A with the Tennessee Smokies in 2021, slashing .214/.302/.321.
Pitching figures it out
The AFL season has been offense-heavy early on and the four Cubs pitchers have had the same challenges — until Wednesday. Ryan Jensen (2019 first-round pick) started for the Solar Sox and threw 4 innings and struck out 5, while scattering two hits in his first win of the AFL season. Caleb Kilian (acquired from the Giants in the Kris Bryant deal) came on in relief for Jensen and covered 3 scoreless innings, striking out 6 and allowing 1 hit.
This was the second AFL appearance for both. Neither had been featured in a game since Oct. 21.