Why SF Giants fans should pay attention to an underrated prospect who is off to a hot start

One SF Giants prospect showing signs of promise is 20-year-old Diego Velasquez.
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Diego Velasquez was one of the top signings of the 2021 international class by the SF Giants out of Venezuela for $900,000. The 20-year-old has been in the Giants system since he was 17 years old. He spent most of his first two seasons in the complex league before getting promoted to A ball in the back half of 2022 where he would remain through the 2023 season. This would be the beginning of his breakout.

Why SF Giants fans should pay attention to an underrated prospect who is off to a hot start

In 2023, Velasquez managed a 125 wRC+ with a .298/.387/.434 slash line across 517 plate appearances in A ball. That's pretty good but not blowing the doors off its hinges. However, he was only 19 years old.

The average age for Low-A ball is between 20 and 21 meaning Velasquez was 25% better than league average while being a full year younger than the average player. He did all of this while providing quality defense at both shortstop and second base. That brings us to 2024. Velasquez was promoted to High-A ball before the start of the season and has promptly continued his excellence. Across 57 plate appearances, he has managed a 157 wRC+ and a .333/.429/.417 slash line.

There is little doubt that Velasquez is on a tear right now in the minors but let's dig a little deeper. His strikeout rate has jumped from 15.9 percent to 24.6 percent but he has never had a full season with a strikeout rate above 19.1 percent meaning we should expect to see that number drop as he adjusts to the level.

Velasquez's low ISO numbers at every level indicate that he is an on-base and speed approach at the plate. However, his walk rate sits at 10.8 percent and he has managed at least double digits in all but his first season indicating he has a good eye at the plate. Not to mention, his BABIP eclipses .330 in every season except his first showing his plus speed.

Fangraphs lists Velasquez with an FV of 40. As expected he is listed to top out at a 40 and 45 for game and raw power respectively, meaning he'll never be an above-average power bat without a body change.

However, he is listed as a future 55 in the field, a future 50 hit tool, and with both current and future 50 speed. That said, Velasquez is better suited for the right side of the infield due to average range and arm strength. All of that means if everything comes together Velasquez would be a high-contact hitter with plus speed, quality at second base, and good plate discipline. Furthermore, while he will never develop into a big power bat, he won't be a complete zero in the power department leading to a 10-12 homerun outlook.

Keep an eye on Diego Velasquez in High-A ball if he continues to tear it up, he could even see a promotion to Double-A before the end of the year. Velasquez is not the most well-known prospect in the Giants system, but he is one fans should become familiar with.