Date of Birth: 09/05/1989
Height: 6' 2" Weight: 205 lbs
College Experience: Alma College
Velez Jr. Will be entering his first season as an Explorer and 7th professionally. Velez had already been all over the country even before getting his start in pro baseball. Born in New York, he played his high school ball at South Fort Myers High School before taking his talents north to Alma College in Michigan. In one season there he appeared in 10 games, 6 of those being starts, and struck out an incredible 78 batters in 44 innings with an ERA of 2.62 earning him 2013 Second-Team All-MIAA honors. Not only was Velez a force on the mound but he was incredible at swinging the bat as well. At Alma he batted .302 while leading the team with 5 home runs and 21 RBI’s.
Despite the excellent numbers Velez went undrafted, from which he found his way to Evansville of the Frontier League. He would spend a shortened 2013 season there while putting in a full season of work in 2014. In that 2014 season Velez made 31 trips to the mound with 5 of those coming as starts. In 57 innings of work Velez would strike out 82 batters good for a K/9 of 12.9 while keeping an ERA of 2.53.
Those numbers did not go unnoticed and Velez was able to earn his chance with a major league organization when the Twins signed him after the season. He would begin the 2015 season in the Twins organization but his time there would not be long. After bouncing between High A and A ball for the Twins he would be traded to the Miami Marlins in June of that year. He would finish out the season with their A Ball club, Greensboro Grasshoppers. The 2015 season saw Velez bounce between two levels, three different teams and two different major league organizations. Between all of that he pitched in 34 games, collecting 4 saves, in 50.1 innings with an ERA of 4.29 and 69 strikeouts.
Miami would start Velez in High A Jupiter in 2016, he would appear in 14 games and 19 innings with 2 saves and an ERA of 3.79 ERA and 22 punch outs. Though 2016 would be the last season Velez has appeared in affiliated ball. 2017 saw Velez make a quick stop with Long Island of the Atlantic league appearing in only 6 games. Last season Velez made another appearance in the independent ranks with New Jersey of the Can-Am league. The south paw dominated out of the bullpen as he appeared in 40 games and held a masterful 1.67 ERA. He went 5-1 and tossed 54 innings while striking out 68 for the Jackals.