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2014 7th Round Pick: Derick Velazquez, RHP, Freson St.

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Drafted as a reliever, he will likely move pretty quickly through the system.

Ryan Dunsmore

Summary

Derick Velazquez is an interesting pick as he was announced a reliever. That was his primary role in college and his best fit. However, the Astros haven't drafted many relievers this early, choosing starters and work them as starters until they prove otherwise. Yet, given his profile, he could probably move fairly quickly for a pitching prospect.

At 6'4" 200 pounds, there's still some weight to be added to his frame which could help his 94 MPH fastball add a tick or two. It already has good life to it. He uses a curveball as an out pitch but really needs to be worked on in order to have more consistency if he is to have success in the pros. As it is now, he lacks the strikeout rate (38 k's in 56 innings). BA says he also throws a hard cutter.

Delivery works for a reliever. It's a little on the heavy side on the arm and will lean away from his arm which can affect his control at times.

Floor

Track records for minor league relievers isn't great.

Ceiling

You'd like for a pitcher drafted as a reliever to be a closer, but I think his upside is just short of that. Probably a set-up man

Will he sign?

I think he will. He's a reliever despite starting late in the season. He doesn't have much to prove in college.

Bibliography

MLB.com

Fresno State has produced a fair share of pitching prospects, including Matt Garza back in 2005, Tanner Scheppers in '09 and top 100 prospect Jordan Brink this year. Velazquez might not have quite as high a profile, but his stock was rising as the Draft approached. Velazquez spent most of the year pitching out of the bullpen, but he worked his way into the weekend rotation. He's been up to 94 mph with his fastball with a ton of life, and he complements it with a breaking ball that's an out pitch when he's throwing well. He has some feel for a changeup, though he hasn't thrown it as much. Tall and thin, Velazquez has room to add good weight and strength, leaving some scouts to think there's projection in what he can become.