Nelson Velazquez appointed, Adrian Sampson optioned to Iowa

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Nelson Velazquez appointed, Adrian Sampson optioned to Iowa

Chicago Cubs outfield prospect Nelson Velazquez returns to big league team!

The 23-year-old outfielder got a very brief taste of the big leagues earlier this year as injuries ravaged the squad’s position side, but didn’t see much action. They have to hope it’s different this time as the Cubs have an interest in maximizing Velazquez’s development through 2023 when he could become part of the outfield rotation.

However, Velazquez is still adjusting to Triple-A (currently hitting .211/.290/.415/85 wRC+ with a stunning 36.2% strikeout rate) so it’s not like you’d expect this one A is permanent retrieval in any case. I just think while he’s up I’d love to see him get a few tries. Let him experience more big league pitching and use this information to continue developing at Triple-A when he goes back down.

How long will this stay last? Probably quite short as we expect David Bote to be back fairly soon, and hopefully Seiya Suzuki soon after. Any return in position could oust Velazquez, especially while the Cubs appear to remain STEADY COMMITTED to starting Jason Heyward almost every day. (SURPRISE: The Cubs lineup just came out, and Velazquez isn’t starting. Heyward is. Nice.)

As previously mentioned, Velazquez is taking the place of Adrian Sampson. The Cubs had to take a pitcher out today to comply with the new 13-pitcher maximum rule.

*Original post with the Sampson move follows*

As you will recall, today is the deadline for teams to have only 13 pitchers left on the active roster. This rule, first approved (but never implemented) ahead of the 2020 season, finally comes into effect today.

The Cubs were down to 14 pitchers this morning so someone had to get out. And as we’ve speculated, it’s pretty much always the guy who last did the “bulk” pitching work:

The Cubs need to muster a positional player for that spot, so maybe check out David Bote activated by the 60 Day IL, or possibly Nelson Velazquez being called up. Stay tuned, although my gut says Messenger will probably be back. There aren’t many other healthy 40-man options (and maybe I just don’t want Velazquez being called back just to be on the bench behind Jason Heyward). It’s possible the Cubs could add someone new to the 40-man (Jared Young? Narciso Crook?), but that would require a separate roster change thanks to the full 40-man.

Speaking of which, it strikes me that the Cubs optional Sampson instead of handing him over. That means the Cubs want to keep him on the 40-man list for now. As a pure deep type you might expect him to be more fungible but is there any chance the Cubs liked his stunning performance yesterday enough to at least think hmm, maybe we don’t want to lose this guy for nothing if we don’t have to?

In case you missed the Sampson discussion in the Bullets this morning:

Meanwhile, Adrian Sampson was nothing short of dominant in 4.2 innings of relief from Hendricks, sniffing at everything and hitting a lineup full of good batsmen. I was confused. But I’ll pull myself together and not make obvious Sampson hair jokes. Seriously, look at these strikeout pitches and think how you would view this pitcher if you *DON’T* know it was “contact manager Adrian Sampson”:

It was really weird to see because I feel like I remember what Sampson looked like last year and it wasn’t that guy. Also, it’s not like anything in his Iowa numbers suggests he’s undergone a major transformation. Yet there he was yesterday, touching 95 mph and throwing a nasty slider. This is a guy who averaged 92 mph last year and had a swinging strike rate of just 9.2%! I’m not sure I can remember the last time I saw an outing that completely contradicted what I thought I knew about a guy. I don’t think you can recalibrate your expectations of Sampson, 30, based on that one performance. I’m just saying he saw like someone else wearing a Sampson jersey and the visuals were stunning.

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