The Royals have promoted outfielder Nelson Velázquez to replace Drew Waters, who was placed on the bereavement list. Velázquez was acquired from the Cubs on July 31 for reliever Jose Cuas.
The 24-year-old Velázquez is a right-handed bat who has spent parts of the last two seasons in the big leagues with the Cubs. In 238 career plate appearances he has hit nine home runs with a line of .210/.290/.407. He was hitting .239/.317/.440 with 16 home runs in Triple-A this year, although he was off to a miserable 1-for-22 start with Omaha.
Velázquez has a lot of swing-and-miss to his game, but he also has good power potential. Eric Longenhagen at Fangraphs offered this description at the time of the trade:
Velázquez is a pull-side mistake hitter with big raw power, which he’s only really able to access against middle-in pitches. He’s chase-prone and struggles with breaking stuff at the bottom of the zone. As he has physically matured, what was once big rotational athleticism and bat speed has been replaced by raw strength and stiffness, which is hopefully not a harbinger of an early decline.
Velázquez can play all three outfield spots, and has played mostly centerfield, although his metrics are not good there in a small sample size.
Waters was hitting .237/.297/.405 in 209 plate appearances after missing the start of the season with an oblique injury. He went 3-for-5 with a home run in Tuesday’s game against Boston, but struck out all three times at the plate last night.