Book selection

Cubs Select Nelson Velazquez, Ethan Roberts

Cubs announced they have selected outfielder contracts Nelson Velasquez and right handed pitcher Ethan roberts. The move protects both players from being selected by a rival team in this year’s rule 5 draft. Chicago’s 40-man roster now has 37 spots.

Velazquez was a 5th round pick for the Cubs in 2017, and the book about him at the time was that he had above-average tools in everything besides a raw hitting tool. This projection has largely borne out in the professional career of the young outfielder, as he posted a cumulative batting average of 0.259 with more strikeouts (377) than games played (316). The 22-year-old’s selection comes as no surprise after his strongest season yet, producing a slash of 0.270 / 0.333 / 0.496 on two levels last season, with most of that production coming from his first look. against the Double-A pitcher. Velazquez increased his stock again with a huge performance of .366 / .467 / .693 Fall League, although strikeouts remain an issue.

Roberts, a right-hander from Tennessee Technological University, earned his 4th round pedigree and has steadily climbed among the miners with the Cubs. A reliever, the 24-year-old straddled the force of a severed fastball and commanded more for generally high stroke prevention figures and strikeout totals. His Double-A performance this year has been outstanding, giving a 1.97 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 32 innings. While a promotion to triple A didn’t go as well (4.50 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 22 innings), Roberts could be a short-term option for his Major League club.