Dayan Viciedo may be facing a career defining season for the Chicago White Sox
Aug 21, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Chicago White Sox left fielder Dayan Viciedo (24) connects for a grand slam home run in the fourth inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
In a perfect world, Dayan Viciedo would have been the heir to the power title once held by Frank Thomas. The stocky Cuban was considered to be an elite power hitter prior to his arrival to the States, and was expected to be a vital part of the middle of the White Sox roster for years to come.
Instead, Viciedo just has not developed as the White Sox had hoped. After hitting 25 home runs with a .255/.300/.444 batting line in 2012, Viciedo took a step back in 2013. While he increased his batting average, his power numbers suffered as Viciedo ended up batting .265/.304/.426 with 14 home runs. Although he managed to cut down on his strikeout rate, Viciedo only walked in 5.1% of his plate appearances, far below the major league average.
It is more than the batting eye that may be holding Dayan Viciedo back. Over his career, Vidiedo has crushed left handed pitching, producing a .322/.357/.551 batting line with 16 home runs in 314 at bats against southpaws. Meanwhile, his numbers are far more pedestrian against righties, as Viciedo is only hitting at a .242/.287/.388 rate with 29 home runs in 838 career at bats.
Based on his career numbers, Viciedo appears to be a platoon player at this point, instead of the potential cornerstone that he was expected to be. However, there is still time for Viciedo to potentially turn things around. He is only going to be 25 years old heading into this season, and may still have time to become the player that the White Sox envisioned.
For that to happen, Dayan Viciedo is going to need to work on his plate discipline. Last season, according to Fangraphs.com, Viciedo went from swinging at 39.9% of pitches outside the strike zone in 2012 to 42.5% last season, far above the major league average of 31%. While he made contact on 69.4% of those swings, that was only just above the major league average of 66.6%. Essentially, the opposition does not need to throw Viciedo a strike, and he could still get himself out.
This is something that the White Sox are going to need to correct. Viciedo still has tremendous potential, and paired with Jose Abreu, would theoretically give the White Sox a solid 1-2 punch in the middle of their lineup. However, Viciedo needs to make adjustments. If not, then the White Sox may find themselves with another disappointment on their hands.
It is still too early for Dayan Viciedo to be considered a bust, but he is getting close to that status. If Viciedo does not show a marked improvement in 2014, he may turn out to be nothing more than a platoon player against left handed starters.