José Osvaldo Velázquez
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 1", Weight 216 lb.
- High School Rafael Lopez Landron High School
José Velázquez played 12 seasons in the minor leagues. Velázquez was picked by the New York Yankees in the 6th round of the 1994 amateur draft. He debuted as a pro with the GCL Yankees that year and was unimpressive at the plate, batting .234/.332/.305. In 1995, he returned to the same club and hit .287/~.377/.392 as perhaps the team's top hitter.
The Guayama native spent his first year in a full-season league in 1996, with the Greensboro Bats. He hit .246/~.306/.340 while playing primarily DH. In '97, he batted .280/~.337/.387 with 77 runs while returning to the outfield. During 1998, he moved to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization. Playing for the Charleston RiverDogs, José hit .308/~.389/.446 as one of their top threats. He was 9th in the South Atlantic League in average and tied for the most intentional walks (6).
Velázquez hit .260/~.322/.329 for the 1999 St. Petersburg Devil Rays; his 3 home runs were clearly insufficient for a regular first baseman. Returning to St. Pete in 2000, he batted .296/.336/.421 with 30 doubles, 10 home runs and 79 RBI. He led Florida State League first basemen with 85 assists.
In 2001, Velázquez moved on to the independent leagues and hit .279 while slugging .435 for the Atlantic City Surf. He made the Atlantic League All-Star team as the first baseman. In '02, the Puerto Rican veteran was one of the best hitters in the Atlantic League, batting .323 with 31 doubles, 18 homers, 94 RBI and a .510 slugging percentage for the Surf. He was 4th in the circuit in average and was second to MVP Jimmy Hurst in RBI. He made the All-Star team at 1B again.
José split 2003 between Atlantic City (.315, .477 SLG) and the Chicago Cubs' West Tenn Diamond Jaxx affiliate (.239/.331/.283 in 54 G), returning to Organized Baseball after a 2-year hiatus. He started 2004 back in the Tampa system and hit .260/.353/.341 in 65 games before returning to the Surf, where he batted .331/.432/.458. Had he qualified, he would have been 4th in the Atlantic League in average.
Velázquez hit .303/.395/.403 for Atlantic City in 2005. In the 2005 Baseball World Cup, he hit .333/.423/.381 as the starting 1B for Puerto Rico. Only Randy Ruiz had a better OBP among the team's starters. In the 2005-2006 Puerto Rican League, he batted .310 and slugged .522 for the Lobos de Arecibo. During the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games, he batted .294/.400/.353 as one of Puerto Rico's better batters. In the 2006 Americas Olympic Qualifiers, he went 1 for 14 with 3 walks as Puerto Rico missed out.
Velázquez hit .308/.379/.462 in the 2008 Americas Baseball Cup to help Puerto Rico win the title. He was named as the All-Star DH, joining teammates Andy González and Carlos Rivera on the tourney All-Star team. In the winter of 2008-2009, José hit .380/.436/.480 for the Lobos de Arecibo.