The 2021 season for Daniel Vellojin had some good things to look at, as he walked one less time than he struck out while posting an .803 OPS in Daytona where the league OPS was just .714. The catcher did struggle to hit for average, though, hitting just .247 as he made the jump from the Dominican Summer League in 2019 all the way to full season baseball with the Tortugas.

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The 2022 year didn’t begin well for Daniel Vellojin. In spring training he broke his hamate bone and would miss the first five weeks of the regular season. When the catcher returned he was essentially sent on a rehab assignment back to Single-A Daytona where he had spent all of the previous season. He would spend a month there, playing in 20 games. It wasn’t until his 20th game that he had more than one hit in a game, and had gone 6-57 over the first 19 games while walking 12 times with 19 strikeouts. In all he would hit just .129 with the Tortugas before being promoted up to High-A Dayton on June 19th.

That 2-hit game to cap his time in Daytona carried forward over the next two-and-a-half weeks with the Dragons. Vellojin was on fire to start his time in the Midwest League, hitting .349/.482/.674 with six extra-base hits in 13 games that also included more walks (11) than strikeouts (10). For as hot as he was in that span, he went into a slump over the next week that was just as extreme. From July 7th through 14th he went 0-15 with one walk and 10 strikeouts. He would only play in three more games beyond that with Dayton, going 4-12 with a home run before he was promoted for the final time on the season.

Vellojin joined Double-A Chattanooga on July 26th. He went 0-2 with two walks in his first game. In the second game with the Lookouts he hit two home runs. Things never really got going at the plate from that point forward, though. He would play in 27 more games with Chattanooga the rest of the way and he hit just .182

For all 2022 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Daniel Vellojin Scouting Report

Position: Catcher | B/T: L/R

Height: 5′ 9″ | Weight: 202 lbs | Acquired: International FA, 2018

Born: March 5, 2000

Hitting | He has a below-average hit tool.

Power | Shows average power with slightly above-average raw power.

Speed | He has well below-average speed.

Defense | See Below.

Arm | He has an above-average to plus arm.

The 2022 regular season is one that won’t be looked back on fondly for Vellojin. The hamate injury recovered enough that he could get back on the field, but the after effects carried forward for much of the season. When he headed off to winter ball he was a bit further out from the injury and he tore through the Colombian Winter League, hitting .292/.430/.597 while leading the league in home runs (he had 12 while the next closest was 8).

The power and the walks could help carry him at the plate, especially for a catcher since many at the position don’t hit for much average. His understanding of the strikezone sticks out, and it’s a common trait for many catchers. Still, Vellojin’s walk rate in his career is just over 15% – he’s not going to expand the strikezone very often. His power is mostly to his pull side, with 11 of his 17 home runs in the last two seasons going to right field.

Defensive is an interesting subject on the scouting report for Daniel Vellojin. He excels with his arm strength and his framing of pitches. He’s well regarded in both aspects and projects to continue to be of high quality in each area. But he’s also very poor at blocking pitches. Over the last two seasons he’s been behind the plate for 163 wild pitches in just 135 games played. While some of that is on the pitcher, not all of it is. It’s a clear weakness in his game and one that he has to improve upon.

All of the parts are there for Vellojin to become an every day catcher in the future. He needs to continue to work on just about everything in his game, rounding out some parts and really improving in some areas, but the base is there. There’s a relatively high floor due to the low bar of entrance for offensive values on a good defensive catcher and that gives a player like Vellojin who has some pop to work with and a good understanding of the strikezone a good leg up on a lot of others. If he’s going to push for a starting job behind the plate he’ll need to really improve his blocking skills and continue to develop with the bat.

Video

Daniel Vellojin Spray Chart

Interesting Stat on Daniel Vellojin

In 53 plate appearances against younger pitchers he hit .267/.377/.600 with five home runs. In 218 plate appearances against older pitchers he hit .182/.315/.298 with five home runs.

10 Responses

  1. BK

    The Reds seem to be working to build more depth at catcher with two draft picks in the first five rounds last year (Tanner and Hunter) and the top IFA signee, Duno. This emphasis is warranted because of the shortage of MLB catchers who can help offensively and defensively.

    Vellojin is the top catching prospect we have in the upper minors. With a good season, he can play himself onto the Red’s 26-man roster in 2024. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Reds target another catcher via trade or free agency next off-season. Stephenson’s catching counterpart is a notable area that will need upgrading down the road.

    • DaveCT

      There certainly are some numbers with a fair amount od quality attached.

      I think the competition between Vellojin, Nelson, Tanner, for the next bump up ought to be worth watching.

  2. Bdh

    Hoping his winter league performance was a sign of things to come. He could really bring a nice 1-2 punch with Stephenson behind the plate and would another left handed bat to the roster.

    • MK

      Think the fact to temper the winter league performance enthusiasm is that the Columbian Winter League’s competitive level would be pretty similar to a High A minor league level. So we might expect him to dominate at that level. On the good side he still had to do it and did.

  3. MK

    Tom is usually correct about things like this, but there is quite a logjam developing at Catcher in Dayton if Vellojin and Nelson return. With Jones and Trautwein already there last year one would need to be demoted or promoted if if the first two are demoted back. I kind of thought the Dragons threesome would be Trautwein, Jones and Tanner. Got to consider Jackson Miller might be finally added to the mix in Daytona(injuries have retarded his development but he is getting a little long in the tooth for ACL) and of course Hunter is there too. Louisville will be loaded as well. I could see James Free back with Lookouts there as mostly a first baseman, and possibly Yang being released.
    After all the post 2022 catching losses I MK thought this might be a weak position, but there is truly some depth now with the addition of Casalli, Mailles, Romaine, and resigning Robinson

  4. MBS

    AAA Romine, Robinson, and Yang?
    AA Free, Vellojin, Nelson?

    I really have no idea, these just seem to be the locks for the top 2 levels. Out of that group Vellojin seems like he has the best future.

    • MK

      You also have Jhonny Pereda who has been in major league camp. He will be in the AA or AAA mix.

    • MBS

      Seems like a lot of C’s at the AAA level. I could be wrong, but I think Romine wasn’t brought in to be promoted if injuries occur. I think he’s here solely to bring along the AAA pitchers. It will be interesting to see how they use all of them. I could see Romine being the personal C for the top 2 starters. If Williamson makes the Reds rotation, then the top 2 might be Stoudt, and Abbott to start the year.

      I don’t care how it shakes out, I’m just eager to get the year started.

  5. Optimist

    I’ll have to search the site, but I like Cade Hunter as the sleeper in the catching group. He’s only had one full season of stats, last year at Va. Tech, and if IIRC his father is the Mariner’s head of scouting, so he comes from a baseball background. Apparently he’s always had a good bat, and just needs experience to determine if he can make it defensively as he moves up levels.

    Looks like he returns to Daytona to being the year, but I suspect he moves up mid-season with any production or as injuries occur elsewhere. They’ll also likely want to get Duno into Daytona sooner rather than later.

  6. MK

    Reds have today added former D-backs 2nd round pick catcher Andy Yarzy who will no doubt be a Aa or AAA catching option.