Thursday, March 15, 2012
Could Dayan Viciedo End Up In Charlotte?
Coming into camp this spring it seemed a given that Dayan Viciedo would be a starting outfielder come opening day, with the only question being whether or not he'd be in left or right field. Even when the White Sox signed Kosuke Fukudome, the move was looked at as nothing more than the Sox adding a fourth outfielder to the roster.
Through nearly two weeks of games this spring, though, I'm seriously starting to wonder if Viciedo isn't playing his way straight to Charlotte.
So far this spring Dayan Viciedo has had 23 at bats. He's drawn only 1 walk, driven in no runs, and has only 4 hits. Right now he has a line of .174/.208/.217.
What's more alarming is that in his 23 at bats, Viciedo has walked back to the dugout having struck out 10 times. That's 42% of his plate appearances ending without him even putting the ball in play.
Making matters worse for Viciedo, he hasn't exactly inspired much confidence with his play in left field either. He's misplayed a couple of fly balls, and has even had trouble fielding ground balls. Now, that's to be expected given that he's playing a new position, but it's still not a promising start.
Then there's Kosuke Fukudome. Fukudome has a line of .263/.440/.316 so far, with his OBP standing out thanks to the 6 walks he's drawn. At the moment there's no denying that the White Sox would be better off with Fukudome in the lineup than Viciedo.
He doesn't bring the same power potential that Viciedo does, but with the offense struggling to get on base this spring, Fukudome's patience at the plate and willingness to take his walks could be a plus.
It would also give Robin Ventura the ability to bat Fukudome second in the lineup rather than A.J. Pierzynski. An idea I find much more palatable at the moment, even if A.J. is the greatest bat-handler in the history of handling bats.
I prefer guys getting on base in front of the heart of my order more than I do guys who can give up an out while moving a runner into scoring position.
The good news for Viciedo is that he still has half a month to get his bat in order and ease any concerns. Still, if it doesn't happen, it's not that insane to think that he'll start another season down in Charlotte as he works out his swing and gets more comfortable in left field.
That might mean Brent Lillibridge will have to expand his Super Utility Skills to include the outfield once again after working on playing the infield this spring, but given the way Lillibridge is hitting this spring, the Sox might be better off getting him into the lineup as often as possible, no matter where he takes his glove.
Plus, we shouldn't forget that there was talk of Adam Dunn getting time in left field this season as well, and as scary as that thought is, if Viciedo is in Charlotte it becomes a reality the Sox may just have to live with.