Cubs add a pair of players to 40-man roster
The Cubs added a pair of players to the 40-man roster Friday afternoon, selecting the contracts of outfielder Nelson Velázquez and right-handed pitcher Ethan Roberts.
Friday represented the deadline for MLB teams to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft by adding them to the 40-man roster. Both Velázquez and Roberts were among the Cubs minor leaguers eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, which is currently set to take place on Dec. 8.
Velázquez will turn 23 in December and has put himself on the map as one of baseball’s most exciting prospects during the Arizona Fall League. He is a right-handed-hitting outfielder who spent 2021 with Advanced Class-A South Bend and Double-A Tennessee.
In 26 games in Arizona during baseball’s biggest fall showcase, Velázquez has made a strong case for the league’s MVP honors. He has a 1.160 OPS with 9 homers and 21 RBI in 120 plate appearances in the AFL after tallying 20 homers and an .829 OPS in the regular season.
Velázquez was originally a 5th round selection of the Cubs back in 2017 out of PJ Education School in Puerto Rico.
Roberts, 24, also enjoyed a breakout 2021 campaign. A 4th-round pick in 2018 out of Tennessee Technological University, the 5-foot-10 right-hander has worked exclusively as a reliever in his professional career.
He made 39 appearances in 2021 with Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, combining for a 4-2 record, 3.00 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 4 saves over 54 innings. He also struck out 72 batters, good for a 12.0 K/9 rate.
Roberts allowed only 2 home runs all season and opposing hitters batted just .179 off him.
Cubs fans may get a look at both players over the next couple years at Wrigley Field.
With the addition of Velázquez and Roberts, here’s how the Cubs 40-man roster currently shakes out with 37 total players: