Cubs News

Wake up call: Nelson Velázquez’s journey takes him to Wrigley Field

4 weeks agoAndy Martinez

Iowa Cubs manager Marty Pevey woke Nelson Velázquez up early with a simple question.

“Have you had some breakfast?” The Triple-A manager asked him.

Velázquez was confused — why was his Triple-A manager waking him up and asking him if he had eaten? He had yet to shake off the grogginess when Pevey’s next sentence came through the phone.

“Hey, you’ve been called up to the majors, thank you [and] congratulations,” Pevey told the Cubs outfielder. “It was nice to have you here. Just go there and have fun.”

Velázquez couldn’t believe it.

“For me, it means everything,” he said prior to Game 1 of the Cubs doubleheader against the Brewers Monday. “It’s a dream come true. It’s everything I wished [for] in my life.”

Velázquez immediately called his mother, Luz, to share the good news. Only she didn’t answer. So, he called his dad, Nelson, and shared the good news. Then it was on to calling his brother, Antonio, and his longtime personal trainer, Rafael Paris. Eventually he reached his mom to tell her, too.

“They were crying,” Velázquez said. “They feel happy for me because I make my dream [come true]. That’s something that made me cry, too.”

He calmed his emotions down in his big-league debut. Velázquez picked up his first career hit in his first at-bat — a 46-mph dribbler to the right side of the infield that he legged out for a single.

They all count the same, though, and he’ll get to keep that ball for the rest of his life. It’s capped a whirlwind few months for him.

He tore up the Arizona Fall League last year and was named the league MVP. Later that winter, he was added to the Cubs’ 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.

“That was something marvelous,” Velázquez said back in spring training.  

He’s been able to share that moment with Christopher Morel, who he came through the Cubs system with.

“He’s my bestie,” Velázquez said. “I’m very happy that he’s here with me.”

Now, Velázquez wants to continue to learn, grow and prove that he is deserving of being a major leaguer. That’s something the Cubs have noticed he’s done in his development and maturation process.

“I knew there was some raw power in there that they were trying to tap into and that the swing adjustments that he made and the work that he put into last year kinda put it all together for him just being able to make more contact,” David Ross said.

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