Boston Red Sox Have Interesting Piece in Hector Velazquez
The Boston Red Sox signing of Hector Velazquez may not have excited many people, but he could be quite the interesting player moving forward.
Mexico has a proud tradition when it comes to baseball stars like Fernando Valenzuela came from the country, and one of the top pitching prospects in the game, Julio Urias, calls the country home. And yet, while we see players come from Nippon Pro Ball or from Cuba, we do not see nearly as many players coming out of the Mexican League as once we did.
And yet, there may be the occasional diamond in the rough that can be found. One of those players may well be Hector Velazquez, whom the Boston Red Sox acquired after paying $30,000 to the Piratas de Campeche for his services. In doing so, the Red Sox also beat the New York Yankees to the punch.
A look at his overall numbers makes Velazquez seem like a decent gamble, especially at that price. Adding his time in the Winter Leagues, he has posted a solid 61-48 record with a 4.01 ERA and a 1.363 WHiP, striking out 752 batters against 367 walks in 1019.1 innings. Those numbers may not be great, but Velazquez does possess decent control.
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Velazquez had an excellent 2016 campaign with Moncolva. In his 22 starts, he was 5-1 with a 2.47 ERA and a 0.997 WHiP. His ability to spot the ball was on full display as he struck out a career best 120 batters against only 16 walks in 131.1 innings. With a performance like that, it is little wonder that the Red Sox and Yankees would be vying for his services.
In order for Velazquez to succeed in the American League East, he will need that pinpoint command. His fastball barely reaches the 90’s, while he mixes in a change, slider, and cutter to keep batters off balance. He is, in a way, the definition of a crafty righty.
He was just about as advertised in his debut, striking out three while allowing a run on three hits and a walk in two innings. It was a solid performance, and one that showed that there is some talent there. Just where he fits in with the Red Sox is a matter of debate. With a solid Spring, Velazquez could even get a look as the fifth starter in Boston, although he is far more likely to end up in Pawtucket to start the year.
Hector Velazquez is an interesting pickup for the Boston Red Sox. However, this relatively unknown pitcher could be quite a steal if his command continues.