The Sioux City Explorers have announced the signing of LHP Jose Velez Jr. 

Velez will be entering his ninth season of professional baseball and his second with the Sioux City Explorers.

In his inaugural season Velez was exceptional for the X’s. Over 32 total games he held an impressive 1.65 ERA, through 32.2 innings. He walked only eleven batters for a BB/9 of 3.0 and struck out 47 equaling a K/9 of 12.9. In an eleven game stretch from May 26th to June 22nd Velez did not surrender a single run over 12.1 innings, walking just two and fanning 16. 

Last season after the Explorers cancelled their 2020 campaign, Velez was selected by the St. Paul Saints, with the 24th overall pick of the American Association supplemental draft. Appearing in 23 games for the Saints, the hard throwing lefty held an ERA of 3.63, striking out 35 batters in a span of 22.1 innings. 

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 the Evansville Otters of the Frontier League. He spent a shortened 2013 season there while putting in a full season of work in 2014. In that 2014 season the southpaw 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 as the Tampa native earned his chance with a major league organization when the Twins signed him after the season. He began 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 was traded to the Miami Marlins in June of that year. He finished out the season with their Class-A club, Greensboro Grasshoppers. The 2015 season saw Velez bounce between two levels, three different teams and two different major league organizations. Between it all he pitched in 34 games, collecting 4 saves, in 50.1 innings with an ERA of 4.29 and 69 strikeouts.

Miami started 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. Although 2016 was the last season Velez appeared in affiliated ball. 2017 saw Velez make a quick stop with Long Island of the Atlantic league appearing in only 6 games. 

Velez made another appearance in the independent ranks in 2018 with the New Jersey Jackals then of the Can-Am League. The southpaw 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.

The Sioux City Explorers 29th year in Siouxland will begin at MercyOne Field at Lewis and Clark Park on May 18th versus the Houston Apollos. There will be an open house for our brand new box office and team shop on April 23rd beginning at noon. Tickets purchased that day at the box office will be 50{01592211ad1b0494c7248995e911e96871ba37b405f80c3a4a03e9f8c4b21653} off and new team merchandise purchased at the team store that day will be 20{01592211ad1b0494c7248995e911e96871ba37b405f80c3a4a03e9f8c4b21653} off.