After making the jump to Low-A Daytona in 2021 and posting an .803 OPS with nearly as many walks as strikeouts, Daniel Vellojin’s 2022 season got off to a rocky start.
A hamate injury cost the 22-year-old catcher the first five weeks of the season. When he returned, he was sent back to Daytona and struggled. He hit just .105 and slugged .158 in his first month.
“(The injury) really didn’t come along as well as we were hoping, in particular because he’s a catcher who has to receive and throw so much,” Reds vice president of player development Shawn Pender said.
As the season progressed, Vellojin got healthier and his offensive numbers started to improve. After his initial struggles, he hit .231/.350/.426 between his stops in High-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga. Even with the improved output, his strikeout rate remained high at 30%.
“I think he probably got fully healthy in the last three to four weeks of the season,” Pender said.
Vellojin has carried that clean bill of health into the offseason, when he spent his time with Monteria of the Colombian League. The catcher, who signed out of Colombia in 2018, had taken his offensive output to another level.
His 11 home runs in 39 games topped the league. He had walked 31 times with just 32 strikeouts, while hitting .287/.421/.587.
“He has a very strong arm, but it was affected by the hamate injury because he didn’t quite grip the ball the same way,” Pender said. “We’ve always liked his receiving skills, but his blocking needs to improve. He does a great job calling a game.”
With the hamate injury behind him and a strong showing during winter ball in Colombia, Vellojin could be primed for a rebound in 2023.