Andrew Velazquez has been hit with Angels since leaving Yankees

Andrew Velazquez has been hit with Angels since leaving Yankees

Andrew Velazquez rapidly turned a fan favourite in The Bronx final yr because the hometown child making good on his likelihood with the Yankees.

However the shortstop could also be much more adored by his new crew.

When the Angels flew to New York for his or her collection towards the Yankees, the theme on the flight was “Costume like Squid,” utilizing Velazquez’s nickname. And once they took the sphere for batting follow on Tuesday afternoon, lots of them did so carrying T-shirts that on the entrance confirmed a squid carrying a glove on each arm and on the again learn, “70 p.c of the world is roofed by water. The remainder is roofed by Squid.”

The defensive whiz has made that sort of an impression on his new teammates and workers in simply 41 video games, even after beginning the season at Triple-A.

“The very best shortstop within the American League [right now],” Angels supervisor Joe Maddon stated Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. “I noticed him final yr, [but] I didn’t get an opportunity to see it sufficient.

“Wow. We’re solely 5 [games over .500] — we have been 10 or 11 over at one time. We might not be there with out him at shortstop. … I’m an enormous fan of Squid.”

Andrew Velazquez hits a single towards his hometown Yankees.AP

The Yankees noticed it final season once they obtained a shot within the arm by calling up Velazquez in August when Gleyer Torres was damage. The Fordham Prep grad confirmed off his slick fingers — and even got here by with some well timed hits — in simply 28 video games in pinstripes earlier than incomes a begin within the AL wild-card recreation.

However the Yankees waived him in November, slicing his homecoming quick as a result of they wanted to open a spot on their crowded 40-man roster.

“I’ve been round lengthy sufficient to know the enterprise facet of it’s sort of unpredictable,” Velazquez stated. “I’m additionally self-aware so I noticed that they had like 60 guys on the roster and the blokes that have been coming again. So I’m not stunned. I loved it right here. No animosity or nothing. I beloved it and soaked up the expertise.”

Andrew Velazquez with the Yankees in 2021.for the NY POST

Velazquez, who stated he obtained “recharged” by the vitality being again in New York, has been probably the most helpful Angels on a crew stuffed with stars to this point this season. Coming into Tuesday, his six Outs Above Common (per Baseball Savant) have been the very best of any MLB shortstop and his 1.1 WAR (per Baseball Reference) was sixth-best on the Angels.

“What he’s doing defensively is critically spectacular,” third baseman Matt Duffy stated. “It’s unbelievable.”

When Velazquez made a uncommon error not too long ago, Duffy joked that the ball needs to be despatched to Cooperstown.

“He’s only a actually good ballplayer,” Duffy stated. “I believe there’s extra in him than what has been allowed to be proven up thus far in his profession. Not a man I’d be stunned about going ahead if folks begin listening to his title somewhat extra.”

Velazquez didn’t take lengthy to change into a family title in The Bronx final season, however the Yankees opted to show elsewhere to handle shortstop. As an alternative of pursuing any of the star free brokers, they traded for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, one other defense-first shortstop who entered Tuesday with minus-1 Outs Above Common however a greater offensive profile. Velazquez was batting simply .202 with a 58 OPS-plus, although Duffy and Maddon each famous how arduous he has been hitting the ball, particularly of late.

“He may by no means get any hits and it will be value it,” Duffy stated.

As for dressing like Velazquez? Maddon simply reached into his closet.

“I had a fab coat that I knew he would really like as a result of it got here out of my very own closet,” Maddon stated. “Similar factor with my white leather-based desert boots that I do know may have been in his closet, too. Peace and Love shirt below the jacket. And a few khakis as a result of I do know he went to Fordham Prep.”

About Muji Sakawari

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