2022 Los Angeles Angels Player Reviews: Andrew Velazquez
MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Cleveland Guardians
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Acquired in an offseason waiver claim from the New York Yankees, Andrew Velazquez was an unsung hero for the Los Angeles Angels and general manager Perry Minasian when they needed infield reinforcements.

After David Fletcher began his string of stints on the injured list with a hip strain, Velazquez was called up on April 12 from Triple-A Salt Lake. Known as a defensive-minded player, his value came from what he could provide up the middle, something the Angels sorely needed.

His nickname ‘Squid’ came from his early days in the Arizona Diamondbacks system, referencing his ability to play a smooth style of defense. Velazquez played 906 innings at shortstop in 2022, logging 11 defensive runs saved with a 3.1 UZR/150. He was routinely mentioned among the top defenders in Major League Baseball, ranking fourth in the league in DRS.

His .196/.236/.540 slash in 322 at-bats isn’t anything to fawn over, because in a lineup as potentially potent as the Angels possess—a journeyman infielder playing for his sixth team since 2018 shouldn’t be looked at to provide much in the box. But he did post the highest defensive ratings of his career at a time it was most needed.

Velazquez played in a career-high 125 games from April to late September, but a knee injury ended his season early.

Andrew Velazquez 2022 highlight

Having to rely on Velazquez for much of the season was a difficult ask for a platoon player but on Sept. 6 against the Detroit Tigers, he had perhaps his most impactful moment with the club.

In the bottom of the tenth inning with the ghost runner on second, he reached base on a fielder’s choice and an error that allowed Taylor Ward to score, notching the game at 4-4. Velazquez advanced to second on the play and after a walk, Mangeruris Sierra laid down a bunt single—plating Velazquez and walking the game off in extras.

2023 outlook

Velazquez remains the in Angels organization heading into 2023 and is on track to be ready after his knee surgery. His status as a pre-arbitration player makes him a decent commodity for the club and his value on defense is enough to keep him around.

It’s likely he serves as a utility man for the #Angels bench for much of the season.

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