Coming into this season, the biggest prize of this system by far was
Dayan Viciedo; a future middle-of-the-order masher amongst a bunch of
other mixed pieces. There was Brent Morel (He's been compared heavily
to Joe Randa - Be still my beating heart), Daniel Hudson (A future No. 3
starter at best), Jordan Danks (A projected 2-hitter with an Adam Dunn
K-rate), Jared Mitchell (speedy leadoff man with no speed at the moment
because he tore a ligament in his knee), and Tyler Flowers (all power,
no ability to hit for contact or defend - an impoverished war refugee's
But on June 20th, the White Sox plucked the closest thing they have to
an All-Star in waiting from the system, to serve as occasional starter
against lefties, pinch-hitter, and token roster guy who can never serve
as a defensive replacement. In said time, Viciedo has played 25 games,
and received 75 at-bats. That's also his total number of plate appearances,
because he hasn't registered a single walk. Not one. Of all the things
about Viciedo's game that have screamed 'not ready for the majors' (his
fielding, his DRASTIC lefty/righty splits), the complete inability to
judge the strike zone seems the most like a stopping point in promoting someone. Only slightly more pressing than his need to improve against right-handed pitching, being
unable to draw a walk is a problem in need of immediate attention and coaching. To hell with being a star, Dayan won't be able to stick in a
lineup if his OBP continues to be his batting average.
Yet, instead of nurturing their prized prospect, the White Sox have
opted for the convenience of spelling Omar Vizquel at 3rd base with a power bat, while
Dayan has shown essentially no improvement in his time with the club. Well, if he has shown
improvement, it doesn't compare to the how much right-handers have
picked up on the fact that Viciedo will chase pitches right up until the moment they hit him in the face. As much excitement and potential Dayan has flashed, and as close
as we are to Mark Teahen returning and serving as the utility 3rd
basemen, one can't help but take stock of what was lost.
Viciedo has appeared in 25 games, making only 3 plate appearances a game
(75 total); which indicates that he's either been getting pulled at
the end of contests, or just pinch-hitting. Since his call-up, Triple-A
Charlotte has played 45 complete games, of which he could expect to have
started in 40 of at the very least, and would average 4-5 plate
appearances a game in. Just to be extremely conservative, let's say Dayan
averages 4 appearances a game in 40 contests, giving him 160 for that
span. By the most absolutely cautious estimates, Viciedo has missed out
on 85 plate appearances in the 7 weeks he's been up with Chicago.
Probably 100. 100 plate appearances in a league with an emphasis on
teaching, with Dayan serving as the greatest focus on the roster. He'd also be privy to
a lot more time on the field, as Ozzie has been pulling him frequently because...well...he's kind of stone-footed klutz at this point.
At 0.3 WAR in extremely limited time, Viciedo has definitely flashed
some value as backup who occasionally hits the ball onto the I-94, but
what about all the flaws that clearly need to be addressed in his play,
that aren't getting sufficient work done on them? He can't hit
right-handed pitching, which is an enormous problem seeing as almost
everyone and their mom is right-handed. He can't draw a walk, which
really bites you in the ass whenever Dayan faces someone who can't throw
strikes, resulting in him just waving wildly at balls. Worst of all,
Dayan swings like Andruw Jones, and it's utterly terrifying. Every time
I see him cut at a high fastball ten feet above the strike zone like he's
decapitating Darth Vader, I feel like I can hear Andruw approaching
Dayan and talking to him for the first time:
"Hey Dayan, I'm Andruw, I heard you were called up today."
(Dayan, struggling to find the words) "Hello"
"I've been in this league a long time Dayan, maybe I could show you a few things."
"The first thing you need to have, is a big-time, power swing."
Noooooooooooo!!!!!! Noooooooo, Dayan! Don't listen! Don't hack, just make contact! Nooooooo!!!!!!!!!
But he can't hear me screaming.