Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account
  • Get To Know Shortstop Engelb Vielma


    Seth Stohs

    On Tuesday evening, Pioneer Press’s Mike Berardino tweeted, “Source: #MNTwins will invite 21-year-old SS Engelb Vielma to major league camp. Rated best defensive IF in system. Bat came alive in June.”

    I had the chance to ask Engelb Vielma some questions recently, so continue reading to learn more about the best defensive infielder in the Twins organization. The interview is in both English and Spanish.

    Image courtesy of Linwood Ferguson

    Twins Video

    Vielma signed with the Twins in mid-September of 2011 out of Venezuela. Had he signed a couple of weeks sooner, he would have needed to be added to the Twins 40-man roster or potentially be lost in the Rule 5 draft. He would have been added. No question.

    I talked to one person who has seen Vielma play quite a bit. I mentioned that Vielma was the best defensive shortstop I have seen in person, in spring training or in my trips to Cedar Rapids and Beloit. The one that I had previously said that about, Dixon Machado of the Tigers, is fantastic with the glove. This person chuckled and told me that there were two shortstops that he would put in Vielma’s category. The other one was Machado. Vielma was the Twins top defensive infielder in 2014 and should repeat for 2015.

    Offensively, he needs work, but really, he just needs strength. He has the mechanics and the swing to be a solid hitter. In the second half of the 2015 season in Ft. Myers, he hit very well. However, at probably 160 pounds, he just isn’t going to get a lot of extra-base hits. Overall with the Miracle, he hit .270/.321/.306 (.627) with nine doubles, two triples and a homer. However, after June 1, he hit .322/.380/.356 (.736) with eight extra-base hits. He’s fast. He’s a good base runner and he stole 35 bases bases on the year.

    I have had a couple of people – not Twins decision-makers, mind you, but people who have seen Vielma play extensively – tell me that if Vielma can hit .250, or maybe post a .620 OPS, in Chattanooga in 2016, he very well could be the Twins Opening Day shortstop in 2017. Lofty goals, but with Vielma, we are talking about Andrelton Simmons type of defense. Range. Arm. Hands. He’s incredible.

    And he’s still got plenty of room to grow. In fact, after starting the offseason playing winter ball in Venezuela, Vielma spent quite a bit of time in Ft. Myers working on his strength. He works hard, but he’s also touted as a great leader, a player who helps bring together English-speaking players with Spanish-speaking players. He controls the infield and the outfield from shortstop.

    For much more on Vielma and other Twins minor leaguers, the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook will be available shortly following the New Year. Keep watching for it here and on Twitter.

    We would like to thanks Engelb Vielma for taking some time to respond to our questions. We also need to thank his agency, LA Sports Management, for helping to facilitate the interview and for translation. You can follow them on Twitter (@LASportsMgmt) for news on Vielma and several other Twins prospects.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Seth Stohs (SS): Growing up, who were some of your role models in the game of baseball?

    (Cuando crecías, ¿quiénes fueron algunos de tus modelos a seguir en el juego de béisbol?)

    Engelb Vielma (EV): The main foundation to start playing baseball was my father who motivated me to play.

    (La base principal para empezar a jugar al béisbol fue mi padre que me motivó para que jugara).

    SS: Tell me a little bit about your youth baseball in Venezuela. Did you play Little League? Did you play other positions besides shortstop?

    (Cuéntame un poco sobre tu béisbol juvenil en Venezuela. ¿Jugaste en la Liga Infantil? ¿Jugabas otras posiciones además de shortstop (parador corto)?)

    EV: I started playing baseball as a child. I played in a little league called Cacique Mara. Apart from playing shortstop, I also played first base and I was a pitcher.

    Empecé a jugar al béisbol cuando era un niño. Jugué en una liga infantil llamada Cacique Mara. Además de jugar en la posición de shortstop, también jugué en primera base y fui lanzador.

    SS: When did you start hearing from professional, MLB teams and what was it that caused you to decide to sign with the Twins?

    (¿Cuándo empezaste a oír hablar de equipos profesionales de la MLB y qué hizo que te decidieras a firmar con los Twins (Gemelos)?)

    EV: I knew I had talent to be a professional baseball player. I started to know I had talent at age 15. I decided to sign with the Twins because I was offered good money and I saw I had a chance to go up fast in the minor leagues.

    (Pensaba que tenía mucho talento para ser un jugador profesional de béisbol. Empecé a darme cuenta de que sí tenía talento a los 15 años. Decidí firmar con los Twins (Gemelos) porque me ofrecieron una cantidad de dinero interesante y vi que tenía una oportunidad para subir rápidamente en las Ligas Menores.)

    SS: What was the adjustment like for you when you moved from Venezuela to the United States? What were the biggest challenges on and off the field?

    (¿Cómo fue la adaptación para ti cuando te mudaste de Venezuela a los Estados Unidos? ¿Cuáles fueron los mayores retos tanto en el campo de juego como fuera del mismo?)

    EV: The first thing I had to adjust to was the change of culture. I saw that on the field there was much more competition for good players, outside the field, the biggest challenge was the language change.

    (En lo primero que tuve que adaptarme fue al cambio de la cultura. Vi que el campo de juego ofrecía mayor competencia para los jugadores buenos. Fuera de eso, el cambio de idioma.)

    SS: What was the highlight of your 2015 season?

    (¿Cuál fue el punto saliente de tu temporada 2015?)

    EV: I know I had a good year in all, but the offensive was better.

    (Sé que tuve un buen año en todo, pero la ofensa fue mejor.)

    SS: Everyone talks about your defense. How much pride do you have in your defense, and how much do you work at it?

    (Todo el mundo habla de tu juego defensivo. ¿Estás orgulloso de tu juego defensivo? ¿Cuánto te dedicas al juego defensivo?)

     

    EV: I have good defense is what many people have told me, but I try to work a little more and learn something new every day so that my defense gets a lot better.

    (Lo que me dicen es que tengo buen juego defensivo, pero trato de dedicarme un poco más y de aprender algo nuevo cada día para que mi juego defensivo sea mucho mejor.)

    SS: Are there certain areas of your game or preparation that you’d like to focus on during this offseason, looking to 2016?

    (¿Hay alguna área de tu juego o preparación en la que quieras concentrarte durante el cese de la temporada con la mira puesta en 2016?)

    EV: Basically my body, I need to gain more pounds. My offense, also try to be more consistent.

    (Esencialmente, quiero aumentar un poco de peso. También quiero tratar de que mi juego ofensivo sea más consistente.)

    SS: What are some of your goals for the 2016 season? Are there certain statistics that you will focus on?

    (¿Cuáles son algunas de tus metas para la temporada 2016? ¿Hay determinadas estadísticas en las que vas a concentrarte?)

    EV: Of course. Statistics always help a little, but I really want to focus on my batting, trying to steal a few more bases and keep on improving my defense.

    (¡Por supuesto! Estadísticas pueden ayudar un poco, pero especialmente quiero enfocarme en mi bateo, en robar mas bases y tambien seguir mejorando mi juego defensivo.)

    SS: What would it mean to you and your family to be able to reach the major leagues and put that uniform on for the first time?

    (¿Qué significaría para ti y tu familia poder llegar a las Ligas Mayores y ponerte ese uniforme por primera vez?)

    EV: It means joy, satisfaction but not only to reach the major leagues but to try and settle. My family would be very happy!

    (Significa alegría, satisfacción, pero no solo llegar sino tratar de establecerme. Mi familia estaría muy feliz.)

    SS: Away from baseball, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

    (Fuera del béisbol, ¿qué te gusta hacer en tu tiempo libre?)

    EV: Share with my family, with my girlfriend, my friends. I like to sleep a lot. I also like to take batting practice with my brothers.

     

    (Compartir con mi familia, con mi novia, con mis amigos. Me gusta dormir mucho. También me gusta hacer práctica de bateo con mis hermanos.)

    SS: Are there certain people that you feel helped you get to this point in your career?

    (¿Hay ciertas personas que sientes que te ayudaron a llegar a este punto en tu carrera?)

    EV: My parents and my girlfriend.

    (Mis padres y mi novia.)

    SS: Thank you very much!!

    EV:
    ¡Muchísimas gracias!

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Thank you again to Engelb Vielma and the good people at LA Sports Management for taking time to do this interview. Feel free to ask questions or comment below.

     Share


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Featured Comments

    Thanks for this excellent article, Seth.

    I am still a fan of elite defense and I do think Vielma will make it on the defense alone. His 2015 numbers offensively are actually encouraging. I wondered earlier this year about the Twins potentially looking to Vielma out of the gates in 2017.

     

    He's one level ahead of Gordon. I have to wonder how that will all play out down the road.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

     

    He's one level ahead of Gordon. I have to wonder how that will all play out down the road.

     

    That will be fun to watch. Eduardo Escobar provides the Twins with a year or two of time before either Vielma or Nick Gordon push their way into a major league lineup. Either one or both of them could be elite shortstops as they progress beyond A ball.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    [He's one level ahead of Gordon. I have to wonder how that will all play out down the road.]

     

    That could be very interesting come 2017-2018.  Isn't that about the time Dozier's contract expires?  Does the Twins future include a double play combo of Gordon and Vielma?  Sure looks like it to me.

     

    Also want to wish you a Merry Christmas Seth.  Thanks for all your work you do to keep us informed with the kids that are the Twins future.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Thank you for this interview. It was great to be able to hear a little about him and his thoughts. Sounds like a great player. I saw him play at Cedar Rapids a couple years ago, and he was impressive defensively. He also looked like he weighed 90 pounds soaking wet. Hopefully he can become a great player.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

     

    [He's one level ahead of Gordon. I have to wonder how that will all play out down the road.]

     

    That could be very interesting come 2017-2018.  Isn't that about the time Dozier's contract expires?  Does the Twins future include a double play combo of Gordon and Vielma?  Sure looks like it to me.

     

    Also want to wish you a Merry Christmas Seth.  Thanks for all your work you do to keep us informed with the kids that are the Twins future.

     

    Happy Holidays to you and your family as well, Roger!! Hopefully you're in some warm climate visiting them!

     

    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. If both continue to progress, I think Vielma is at shortstop with Gordon moving over to 2B.

     

    Of course, that's not to say at all that Gordon can't play shortstop. He can. But if Vielma can hit enough, this is how I'd see it. I think Gordon will hit and although I think he can play shortstop and well, Vielma might just be elite defensively.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

     

    Of course, that's not to say at all that Gordon can't play shortstop. He can. But if Vielma can hit enough, this is how I'd see it. I think Gordon will hit and although I think he can play shortstop and well, Vielma might just be elite defensively.

     

    ohhhh goodness....

     

    Vielma's ceiling looks to be Pedro Florimon while Gordon is a potentially elite.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

     

    ohhhh goodness....

     

    Vielma's ceiling looks to be Pedro Florimon while Gordon is a potentially elite.  

    I'd say that Vielma's floor would be Pedro Florimon (if he gets to the big leagues). His ceiling is maybe Brandon Crawford. Most likely somewhere in between. That defense is very valuable.

     

    Gordon's potential is Barry Larkin, which is pretty good! 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Great job Seth, love your reports. Saw him few times in ST, amazing defense. A little guy, fun to watch him in drills and glad to see his offense coming around. Looking forward to seeing him in Chattanooga. Merry Christmas Seth.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I noticed him in spring training during infield workouts. Thought he might be someone's kid when he walked on the field. There is no way he was 160 lbs. I would have guessed 130, but watching him in the midst of a whole bunch of professional players probably shrunk him a bunch. It also didn't take long to realize he was a human vacuum cleaner in the infield. You said he's working in his strength this off season. If he could put on 10 lbs of muscle he could really be even more interesting. Looking at his SB numbers he's certainly got speed and base sense.

     

    He also had more BB's than anyone else at his average or above at his level. If he demonstrates that the last half of the season is now how he can hit, he could really rocket up the prospect list. Engelb will be one of the 2 or 3 people I will look up first every morning this upcoming season.

     

    Thanks so much got the post.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

    Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...