Last year Hector Velazquez made his MLB debut and went 3-1 in eight appearances as a starter and reliever. The Red Sox signed Velazquez after his 2016 breakout season in the Mexican League. Over the last two seasons he has provided the Sox with rotation depth. On May 18th of last season, he made his first MLB start and gave up six runs against Oakland. Since then he has been one of the best Red Sox pitchers whenever called upon. This season has been no different.
Injuries Test Red Sox Early
The Red Sox were tested early this year as Drew Pomeranz and Steven Wright began the season on the disabled list. As a result, both Brian Johnson and Velazquez made the opening day roster. Johnson started off the season well before struggling as his ERA has risen to 4.67. Velazquez has been of the Red Sox best pitchers as his 2.15 ERA ranks second on the team behind Joe Kelly. He has proven to be a reliable arm as a starter and a reliever. This has improved the Red Sox depth and has given them options when they’ve dealt with injury. Velazquez has rewarded Boston faith with his performance.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Michael Dwyer
Velazquez’s Value by the Numbers
In thirteen appearances this season, including two as a starter, he is 5-0. In 29.1 innings of work he has twenty strikeouts and has walked only eight batters. He has allowed thirty-two hits on the season, but he has only allowed seven earned runs. In six appearances in May, Velazquez has only allowed two earned runs. He is not a strikeout pitcher but he knows how to use the strike zone. As Brian Johnson has struggled, Velazquez has emerged as one of Alex Cora’s most trusted bullpen arms.
Can Velazquez Keep This Up?
Velazquez has appeared in twenty-one games at the major league level recording a 2.50 ERA. The Red Sox showed their faith in him when they activated the righty of the disabled list and optioned Bobby Poyner who had a 1.86 ERA in nine appearances to Pawtucket. As the innings pile up, Velazquez’s durability will be tested. In Velazquez’s young major league career he has done nothing but give the Red Sox quality innings. If he can continue to pitch well, then this could be a breakout season for the former Mexican league star.