In a not so surprise move, the Cubs placed outfielder Nelson Velazquez on the 40-man roster this afternoon to avoid losing him in the Rule 5 Draft. Everybody and their mother expected the Cubs to do so after Velazquez’s scintillating fall campaign in Arizona where he is hitting .385 with a 1.191 OPS and a league leading 7 dingers.

The only uncertainty about today was who else the Cubs would protect.

Heading into today, the 40-man roster stood at 35. The Cubs likely wanted to remain a bit flexible to add as the next few weeks went along. The option to only take Velazquez was sitting on the table, but most thought that to be unlikely. Yesterday at North Side Bound, all four of us made our predictions as to who the Cubs should protect and the only unanimous choices were Velazquez and Ethan Roberts. However, Roberts was no sure selection.

The new broke just after 4 pm.

And sure enough, both our unanimous picks made it!

Congratulations to Ethan who has been blessed with an outstanding work ethic and some amazing rates to make it this far.

For Roberts, the choice to select him was simple. He’s dominated at every level as a reliever. It hasn’t been easy for Ethan as he’s had to adapt and that is extremely important part of his profile and why he has risen to the 40-man in just 2 full seasons. Ethan should be at Triple-A Iowa to begin 2022 and I am very excited for Ethan and his family for the next step in their journey.

Picture of Nelson Velazquez by Todd Johnson – CubsCentral08