Rangers Prospect #39: Miguel Velazquez

Miguel Velazquez was impressive in an abbreviated professional debut last summer, batting .330 with the rookie level AZL Rangers. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at the 19-year-old outfield prospect.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Miguel Velazquez
Position: Outfield
DOB: May 15, 1988
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 205
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

NOTE: Velazquez is one of the system's few players we have not been able to see up-close and in-person. All [relatively limited] information on him comes from word-of-mouth from those who have seen him play. Because of this, what follows is a condensed scouting report.

When Miguel Velazquez – the Rangers' 19th round selection in the 2006 MLB Draft – signed just prior to the 2007 season, there was no media coverage. But the primary reason for that would seem to be because Velazquez was an anonymity, not because he wasn't talented.

The Rangers inked Velazquez to a well-above-slot signing bonus of $72,000 shortly before players reported to spring training for the 2007 season.

Velazquez had been considered one of the top draft prospects in Puerto Rico, but his agent's website [www.asgbaseball.com] states, "Velazquez dropped to the 19th round due to a knee injury and certain personal problems that prevented him from attending most pre-draft workouts."

The agent's website goes on to say that Velazquez was signed after having a private workout for the Rangers in his native Puerto Rico. At the workout, the outfielder reportedly ran an impressive 6.5 second 60-yard dash.

Velazquez worked out at the Rangers' minor league complex in Surprise, Ariz., until the short-seasons began. It was then that the 19-year-old officially began his professional career, as he was assigned to the rookie-level AZL Rangers.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound outfielder collected 31 hits in 94 at-bats (.330 AVG), including five doubles, two triples, and two home runs. With 21 RBI in just 24 games, Velazquez showed his ability to drive in runs. He also flashed his speed with seven stolen bases in eight attempts.

Rangers minor league hitting coordinator Mike Boulanger had the opportunity to work with Velazquez, and he was certainly impressed with the outfielder's abilities.

"He's a very exciting player," said Boulanger. "He's pretty much a five-tool guy. He's a guy that I project to play in the Major Leagues some day.

"He has the ability to do all those things for me: to run, throw, hit, hit for power. He's a guy that can be at least average across the board. He's a guy that can show up and help your ballclub."

Unfortunately for Velazquez, his season came to an abrupt end after just about five weeks. The San Juan native was suspended by the Rangers for undisclosed reasons and was sent back home to Puerto Rico.

Boulanger went on to state that, more than anything else at this point in his career, Velazquez needs experience.

"He didn't play – he needs experience," said Boulanger. "The one thing he needs probably more than anything else – and he needs instruction, no question – is that he needs to play. That's the one thing we can't give him. He's going to have to play and figure it out. We're looking forward to him getting back in the system and play a full season."

That first full season is one that has many Rangers fans intrigued. Velazquez showed signs of his potential during his short stint in rookie ball last year and the Rangers have been hurting for corner outfield prospects. Another solid season from Velazquez could have him flying up organization's rankings.

The current question is where Velazquez will be honing his skills in 2008. He can start the season in extended spring training before moving to short-season Spokane, but he could also join Single-A Clinton directly out of camp. The likely scenario is probably Clinton, but neither one would be much of a shock.

2007 AZL Rangers (RK) .330 94 5 2 21 18 7 7 27 .381 .489

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