The Pirates have signed undrafted free agent RHP Ryan Velazquez. Velazquez hails from Puerto Rico and pitched at Alabama State in 2021, and then transferred to the University of Washington in 2022. Velazquez is another older college pitcher (23 years old) that the Pirates have decided to add into the fold of prospects. Velazquez is now the 17th pitcher the Pirates have acquired either through the draft or undrafted free agents.
Velazquez is no stranger to the college summer leagues, and in particular, he pitched in the MLB Draft League both in 21′ (Williamsport) and in 22′ (West Virginia). During his time in the MLB Draft League, Velazquez posted a 3.94 ERA in 29.2 innings pitched. Looking over the games Velazquez has pitched, he has only been used as a starter once in 102.1 combined innings.
During both of the Draft Leagues and his three years of college, Velazquez has struck out a total of 125 and walked 66 batters in those 102.1 innings pitched. Velazquez seems to fit the mold of the Pirates’ 2022 draft, where the pitcher they would select would be a high strikeout guy and had summer league experience.
During his 21′ campaign with Alabama State, Velazquez posted a 2.52 ERA, struck out 38, walked 17, and gave up 15 hits in 25.0 innings pitched for the Hornets.
Fast forward to 22′, Velazquez had a bit of a down year for the University of Washington. In 41 innings pitched, Velazquez posted an ERA of 4.39, struck out 39, walked 16, and gave up 34 hits.
Velazquez’s saving grace was his performance during the Draft League for West Virginia. During his time in Morgantown, Velazquez posted a 2.70 ERA, struck out 18, walked five, and gave up 11 hits in 10 innings pitched. Pirates general manager Ben Cherington loves himself some summer league performers.