Roster Moves: Cubs add two prospects to 40-man roster


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Velazquez has been tearing it up in the Arizona Fall League
Velazquez has been tearing it up in the Arizona Fall League

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today selected the contracts of outfielder Nelson Velázquez and right-handed pitcher Ethan Roberts. Chicago’s 40-man roster now stands at 37 players.

Velázquez, 22, led Cubs minor leaguers last season with 73 RBI, 45 extra-base hits and 191 total bases while his 20 home runs and 104 hits ranked second. He batted .290 (36-for-124) with 10 doubles, one triple, eight home runs and 27 RBI in 34 games for Tennessee following his promotion from High-A South Bend, August 4. Between the two clubs, the right-handed hitting Velázquez batted .270 (104-for-385) with 23 doubles, two triples, 20 home runs and 73 RBI in 103 games.

Velázquez is hitting .385 (40-for-104) with 24 runs, seven doubles, nine home runs, 24 RBI, a .480 on-base percentage and a 1.191 OPS in 26 games for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. Named to the AFL Fall Stars Game, he leads the league in home runs, hits (40), extra-base hits (16), total bases (74) and runs scored while he is second in batting average, OPS and slugging (.712).

Selected by Chicago in the fifth round of the 2017 Draft out of PJ Education School in Puerto Rico, Velázquez owns a .259 career batting average (298-for-1,152) with 64 doubles, 10 triples, 45 home runs and 169 RBI in 316 minor league contests.

Roberts, 24, was 4-2 with four saves and a 3.00 ERA (18 ER/54.0 IP) in 39 relief appearances between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa in 2021. He walked 17 batters compared to 72 strikeouts, good for an average of 12.0 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. Roberts limited opponents to a .179 batting average (35-for-196), a .258 on-base percentage and a .528 OPS. He tossed 15.2-consecutive scoreless innings between Tennessee and Iowa, June 11-July 21, with five walks, 22 strikeouts and a .096 batting average against in 12 relief appearances.

The five-foot, 10-inch Roberts was selected by Chicago in the fourth round of the 2018 draft out of Tennessee Tech University. He is 8-7 with 17 saves and a 3.09 ERA (44 ER/128.0 IP) in 94 career minor league relief appearances, walking 33 with 139 strikeouts for an average of 4.21 strikeouts per walk and 9.8 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. Roberts has surrendered three home runs in 529 batters faced and pitched to a 1.06 WHIP. In his last two seasons dating to 2019, he has posted a 2.79 ERA (35 ER/113.0 IP) spanning 80 outings.

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