Dayan “TANK” Viciedo’s stock continued to skyrocket today after two more hits and a solid showing in right field for the White Sox.
Viciedo also walked in the eighth inning with runners on first and third after dragging out a great at-bat where he ripped three balls down the left field line, each barely foul.
He made the move to the outfield this offseason from third base due to a lack of defensive prowess and the emergence of Brent Morel,who is much more adept at handling the hot corner. Viciedo came into camp in much better shape and a great work ethic.
In 216 games in the minors, Viciedo hit .277 with 32 homers and 125 RBI (and 41 errors). He was called up to the White Sox in June of last year and hit .308 with 5 homers and 13 RBI in 104 plate appearances.
Viciedo’s bat would be a great asset to have coming off the bench should he be chosen over Alejandro De Aza and Lastings Milledge as the team’s fourth outfielder. But at age 22, is the bench where you want a star in the making?
Manager Ozzie Guillen has a tough choice to make. Granted, it’s early in the Cactus League play right now, but Viciedo is tearing the cover off the ball and his progress in the outfield has impressed every coach who has taken a look at him, from Harold Baines to Jeff Cox to Joey Cora.
He won’t be able to get the reps that a developing player should be getting if he’s only getting 10-12 at-bats (at most) per week, but the White Sox also wouldn’t be getting the same offensive output from Milledge or De Aza.
Viciedo also can’t play all three outfield positions like Milledge and De Aza can.
By the way Guillen sounded today talking about the DH role, it seems as though when Adam Dunn plays in the field for Paul Konerko, it will be a complete day off for Paulie, meaning he won’t be thrust into the DH role. This could open up a chance for Viciedo to get starts once or twice a week, then if Quentin gets a day here and there….you know, as much as I want it to work, it still just doesn’t add up.
I hate to say it because he’s looked so good this spring, but I think come April 1 you will be seeing either De Aza or Milledge on the roster instead of Viciedo, and it just comes down to versatility. They can pinch run and they can fill in at any of the three outfield positions. Nothing against Milledge or De Aza, because they can both flourish in this setting, but Viciedo is going to be a stud one day.
If worst comes to worst and neither Teahen nor Morel can cut it at third or go down due to injury, maybe we’ll see a Viciedo infield comeback tour. Sox fans would have to bite the bullet when it comes to defense, but the way he handles a bat, it might just be worth it.
Whether it’s this season or not, right field or third base, one thing is for sure: When Dayan’s day dawns, he’s going to do some damage.