Cubs Promote Nelson Velázquez, Option Adrian Sampson to Iowa

Adrian Sampson looked a bit like Goliath in his outing for the Chicago Cubs this past Sunday, allowing just one hit while striking out five against the Atlanta Braves. However, today is the deadline for teams to reduce pitchers on the active roster to a maximum of 13 and someone had to get sent down for the Cubs to be in compliance. That someone is Sampson.

Nelson Velázquez was the obvious choice to recall, mainly since he’s already on the 40-man roster and playing in Iowa. Velazquez had a brief stint earlier this season with the Cubs but only had seven plate appearances before being sent back down. He’s yet to break out since being promoted from Double-A Tennessee — first to Chicago and then to Iowa — but it feels like it’s only a matter of time until that happens. Here’s to hoping he does well this time up and forces the Cubs to make a difficult decision.

Here’s the official press release from the Cubs:

PITTSBURGH – The Chicago Cubs today recalled outfielder Nelson Velázquez from Triple-A Iowa and optioned right-handed pitcher Adrian Sampson to Iowa.

Velázquez, 23, begins his second stint with the Cubs this season after he made his major league debut on May 30, combining to go 2-for-7 in both games of the doubleheader against Milwaukee.

In 56 games between Double-A Tennessee and Iowa, Velázquez is hitting .241 (49-for-203) with 11 doubles, one triple, 15 home runs, 32 RBI, 12 stolen bases and an .859 OPS. His 15 home runs are tied for the most among Cubs minor leaguers with Matt Mervis and Alexander Canario.

The right-handed hitting Velázquez, named the 2021 Arizona Fall League MVP, owns a career .256 average (347-for-1,355) with 75 doubles, 11 triples, 60 home runs, 201 RBI and 54 stolen bases in 372 minor league games. The six-foot tall outfielder was added to the Cubs 40-man roster this past offseason.

A native of Carolina, P.R., Velázquez has spent parts of five minor league seasons in the Cubs organization since being selected by the club in the fifth round of the 2017 draft out of PJ Education School.

Sampson, 30, has not allowed a run in two games (5.2 IP) this season out of the Cubs bullpen. Yesterday vs. Atlanta he became the first Cub reliever to toss at least 4.2 shutout innings with one or no baserunners allowed since Dave Roberts, August 23, 1977, vs. San Francisco.

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