Nelson Velazquez could be on his way to earning the 2021 Arizona Fall League MVP award. But first, the Cubs outfield prospect will play in the prestigious league's All-Star Game.
Velazquez is one of three Cubs prospects who will play in the AFL's "Fall Stars Game," along with infielder Andy Weber and pitcher Caleb Kilian.
A collection of scouting directors, farm directors, AFL staff and MLB Pipeline writers selected the players for the game, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT Saturday on MLB Network.
"He's been amazing," said Cubs president Jed Hoyer of Velazquez at the GM Meetings this week. "He had a really good year, so this is a continuation of a really excellent season.
"Super proud of him. He's hitting as well as anyone out there."
In fact, he's hitting better than anyone out there.
Velazquez, the Cubs' No. 29 prospect according to MLB.com, has been on an incredible run at the plate with the Mesa Solar Sox. He entered Wednesday leading all qualified players in average (.390), on-base percentage (.490) and slugging (.756).
In 20 games, he's hit eight home runs (also first in the league) with 18 RBIs.
Although it's tough to make big-picture evaluations off fall league performances alone, Velazquez' performance is deservingly attention-worthy, certainly after what he did during the 2021 minor-league season.
Velazquez hit .270/.333/.496 with 20 homers and 73 RBIs between Single-A South Bend and Double-A Tennessee. He was the organization's minor-league player of the month in August.
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"What he's doing is really fun to watch," Hoyer said.
Weber, who spent 2021 in Double-A, is batting .315 with a .427 OBP in 18 AFL games. After a rough first outing, Kilian — one of the prospects acquired from the Giants for Kris Bryant — has allowed one earned run across his last four appearances.
"The way Killian is throwing the ball since that first outing has been exceptional," Hoyer said. "He was terrific [Monday] again.
"Andy Weber is hitting really well. It’s fun to have guys performing well."
Contributing: Gordon Wittenmyer