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Impatient Velazquez breaks on-base mark
D-backs prospect singles in second inning, runs streak to 72 games
07/13/2014 9:18 PM ET

Andrew Velazquez joined impressive company on Saturday. By Sunday, they were in his rear-view mirror.

The D-backs prospect singled in the second inning to extend his on-base streak to a Minor League-record 72 games as Class A South Bend defeated Fort Wayne, 10-7, at Parkview Field.

After striking out to lead off the game, Velazquez beat out a ground ball to shortstop Trea Turner in the second inning. It was a turnaround from Saturday, when he waited until his final at-bat in the seventh inning to tie the record.

"It's good to have it done," Velazquez told The [Fort Wayne] Journal Gazette. "Whatever happens, if it keeps going it keeps going.

"Coming down the last couple of games, it was definitely nerve-racking. Last night, that last at-bat, I was definitely sweating."

The single stretched the streak to 72 games, breaking the mark shared by former Red Sox teammates Kevin Millar (1997) and Kevin Youkilis (2003), both of whom accomplished the feat for Double-A Portland.

"It's a blessing to be in the history books and be in the company of guys like Millar and Youkilis," Velazquez said. "Those guys are awesome. It's a blessing."

The Bronx native is back in the Midwest League after hitting .260 for South Bend a year ago. This season, he's upped his batting average to .310 but perhaps more importantly, has drawn 45 walks in 89 games against only 21 in 65 contests in 2013. That increased patience has made him a threat atop the Silver Hawks' lineup.

Andrew Velazquez's on-base streak began on April 22 with a triple against Dayton. (Emily Jones/MiLB.com)

"He used to have zero awareness of the strike zone, he was up there hacking," Silver Hawks manager Mark Haley said on Saturday. "But all of a sudden, he started focusing. We used to get on him about that, saying, 'Hey, you need knowledge of the zone to lead off.' And he took that seriously and now he's pretty much mastered it.

"You have to really throw quality pitches to him to make him swing out of the zone. And at that young age, when you've got an idea of the strike zone and the ability to take that and implement a plan like he does, that makes you a special kid."

The increased production has put Velazquez atop the Midwest League leaderboard in several offensive categories: he's first with 64 runs scored and 13 triples, second with 40 stolen bases and tied for sixth in batting. Since the streak began on April 22, the midseason All-Star is hitting .316 (94-for-297) with 52 runs scored and 34 RBIs.

Stryker Trahan, the D-backs' fourth-ranked prospect, doubled and scored twice, while Michael Perez drove in a pair of runs for South Bend.

Franmil Reyes homered and collected three RBIs for the TinCaps.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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