2010 FutureSox Preview: Corner Infielders

In this next installment of the FutureSox season preview, we look corner infield, where the Sox have two of their best prospects manning the same position, and another trying to climb his way up the prospect rankings.

: Dayan Viciedo

Dayan Viciedo

2009 in review: In
December of 2008, the White Sox agreed with Viciedo on a guaranteed four
year contract, but with control over Viciedo for the standard six year
entry deal. Playing for the Cuban National Team, Viciedo was named “The
Cuban Babe Ruth”, and was said to be a Top 10 draft pick had he been eligible. While Viciedo received an invite to Spring Training, he was assigned to AA, and opened the season with the Barons at 3rd base.
Viciedo began the season poorly, hitting .221 for the month of April.
However, over the next 5 months, Dayan hit .294, with a .751
OPS. While he didn’t post the raw numbers most expected, it was
encouraging to see a steady improvement throughout the year.

needs to improve:
A little bit of everything. So far in his
professional career, Viciedo has been unable to hit the breaking ball
with any sense of consistency, leading to frequent strike outs. His
defense was also put into serious question, after committing 30 errors
at the hot corner in 284 chances.

What to expect in 2010: It
looks like Viciedo may enter the 2010 season in AAA with the Charlotte
Knights, playing either 1st or 3rd base. The organization told FutureSox
earlier in the off-season that they don’t want to commit Viciedo at 1st
base permanently, but that may be what is best for the 21 year-old

What makes a successful season: 2010 is a make or
break season for Viciedo, even at 21 years old. If he flourishes in AAA,
he will almost certainly re-appear in most publications Top 100 list.
If he has another subpar season, Dayan may become a bit of an
afterthought in the Sox system.

2009 Breakout: Brent Morel
(age 23 for the 2010 season)

Brent Morel

2009 in review: Drafted in the 3rd
round of the 2008 draft, Morel used his first full season in the minors
to really establish himself within the organization. Brent hit .281 for
High-A Winston-Salem, clubbing 16 home runs, and driving in 79, good for
6th in the Carolina League. Brent wasn’t done there. After receiving an
invite for the Arizona Fall League, Morel lead the league in average,
hitting an outstanding .435 in 62 at-bats.

What needs to
Speaking to FutureSox in November, by his own admission Brent
feels his swing still needs some refinement, as well as his base
running. Morel only walked 38 times in 481 AB’s, so his eye could
improve. His 25 stolen bases were a nice surprise, but his speed
probably won’t project for more than 10 steals in the majors.

to expect in 2010:
Brent should enter the season in AA as the Barons
primary 3rd basemen. He has opened some eyes this season in spring training, including manager Ozzie Guillen, but Guillen cautioned he
still needs time to grow. Morel should be hitting third or fourth for
the Barons this year, and continue to play stellar defense.

makes a successful season:
With Viciedo most likely getting the
nod at 3rd base for the AAA Charlotte Knights, and newly signed Mark
Teahen entrenched at 3rd base for the Sox, Morel should spend most of
the year in AA. If he forces the Sox hand for a call up, Morel could be
potential trade candidate at the deadline to acquire a major league

In need of a big year: Jon Gilmore

Jon Gilmore

2009 in review:
Gilmore came to the White Sox as part of the Javier Vazquez/Tyler
Flowers trade. He was a high draft pick (33rd in ’07) that repeated
rookie ball in 2008 after struggling in the South Atlantic League
(Low-A). The Sox assigned him to Kannapolis and he got off to a brutal
start hitting .143 in April. He gradually adjusted and from August to
the end of the season he hit .355. His final line was a still
disappointing .274/.322/.361.

What he needs to improve: Defense
and power. Gilmore committed 40 errors at third base for the
Intimidators. Needless to say there are doubts about his ability to
stick at the hot corner. As for the power, he was said to have big power
potential when he was drafted, but he has 10 career HR in over 1000 AB.
There are a lot of holes in Gilmore’s game right now, walk rate
included, but they are all things that hitters tend to get better at
with age.

What to expect in 2010: The 21 year-old will probably
start in Winston-Salem to avoid starting in the SAL for the third
straight year. He won’t be a star this year, but if he is still a decent
prospect he will show improvement in a few areas. Another year with an
OPS under .700 could wipe Gilmore completely off the radar screen.

makes a successful season:
Better defense (let’s be conservative and
say less than 30 errors), better walk rate and a sign that his power
potential might still be there. Gilmore makes enough contact to be a
decent hitter if he can play reasonable defense and flash a little
power. He will need to show that he still can reach his once highly thought of
-Written by Dan Santaromita

Other notables/Overall
Dan Black, a 14th round
pick in 2009, hit a disappointing .209 with Kannapolis in his first
professional action, but showed a good eye posting .336 on-base
percentage in the process. Leighton Pangilinan was drafted in the 40th
round of the 2009 draft, and performed well at Bristol hitting .299 with
10 doubles in 154 AB. The 6’3″ 18 year-old
should enter the season in the Pioneer League, playing first base for
the Voyagers of Great Falls.

With Morel and Viciedo, third base is pretty stacked with top tier talent. Viciedo may find himself at first, but the corner infielders make up one of the stronger areas of the system.

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