After an impressive start in the Arizona Fall League, Puerto Rican Nelson Velázquez ended up lifting the Circuit’s Most Valuable Player award.
“It means everything,” Velázquez confessed. “I am really happy and very proud of myself. Thanks to my coaches, teammates and my coach for everything I have done in the Fall League. They helped me all the time. It was good to be with them ”.
The Cubs’ 29th-best prospect hit a pair of doubles as part of three hits on Opening Day. In his last meeting, he went 3-3 with three RBIs.
He led the league in both home runs (nine) and OPS (1,191) and finished second in batting average (.385), third in on base (.480) and fourth in RBIs (24).
“It’s been awesome every day,” Mesa’s manager Lance Rymel said. “What he brings to the offensive and defensive end, in addition to his pre-game work. His routine is awesome. That is why it has been so successful here. “
That routine was something the Puerto Rican has worked on a lot. The 2017 amateur draft fifth-round pick got off to a slow start as a professional, but the 22-year-old prospect began to shine in 2019, when he hit .288 in 78 games.
In 2021, he hit .270 / .333 / .496 setting a career-high 73 RBIs and 20 home runs in 103 games at Class-A Fort South Bend and Double-A Tennessee.
Velázquez’s great season earned him a spot on the Cubs’ 40-man roster after being added on Friday.
“I almost cried,” Velázquez said. “I was very happy when I got the call and they told me I would be on the roster of 40. I was very excited. I can’t wait for the camps ”.
Here’s the full list of Fall League Joe Black MVP winners:
2019 – Royce Lewis (Twins), SS / OF, Salt River Rafters
2018 – Keston Hiura (Brewers), 2B, Peoria Javelinas
2017 – Ronald Acuña Jr. (Bravos), OF, Peoria Javelinas
2016 – Gleyber Torres (Yankees), SS, Scottsdale Scorpions
2015 – Adam Engel (White Sox), OF, Glendale Desert Dogs
2014 – Greg Bird (Yankees), 1B, Scottsdale Scorpions
2013 – Kris Bryant (Cubs), 3B, Solar Sox Mesa
2012 – Chris McGuiness (Rangers), 1B, Surprise Solar Sox
2011 – Nolan Arenado (Rockies), 3B, Salt River Rafters
2010 – Dustin Ackley (Mariners), 2B, Peoria Javelinas
2009 – Grant Desme (Athletics), OF, Phoenix Desert Dogs
2008 – Tommy Hanson (Braves), RHP, Solar Sox Table
2007 – Sam Fuld (Cubs), OF, Mesa Solar Sox
2006 – Chip Cannon (Blue Jays), 1B, Phoenix Desert Dogs
2005 – Eric Duncan (Yankees), 3B, Grand Canyon Rafters
2004 – Chris Shelton (Tigers), BD, Grand Canyong Rafters
2003 – Jason Dubois (Cubs), OF, Solar Sox Mesa
2002 – Ken Harvey (Royals), 1B, Scottsdale Scorpions
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Nelson Velázquez, MVP of the Fall League