Jul 26th, 2009
By John Norris
I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about Dayan Viciedo, so we’ll start off by talking about him.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that he hasn’t seen a hanging fastball or an inside fastball that he could hit up until recently. His pull power has been in full display the past few nights after spending most of the season spraying the ball to all fields and mostly to right center. I’ve commented before that once he begins pulling the ball more, he will be deadly. Dayan hits the ball hard. Very, very hard. That’s the best way I know how to explain it. His power will play in all types of fields, whether it be a large park like Regions, or a small park like Knights Stadium or the Cell. I’d say that he’s been a smart hitter this season by hitting to fit the stadium he’s playing in at a given time. We are talking about an advanced hitter here, raw, but advanced for 20 years of age. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him spend the first half of 2010 in Birmingham, or all year at Charlotte. Either way, I still think his likely and sensible ETA in Chicago is the start of 2011.
On the defensive side, I’ve seen him referred to as a “butcher” by many. I’d say that is a harsh assessment. Granted, his fielding percentage is .886 with 23 errors. That in and of itself is bad. But, after watching him now for 4 months, it doesn’t tell the whole story. A good many of his errors came the first two months of the season. As with his hitting during that period, his defense was for the most point, a loss. He was pressing and trying to get his feet wet at the same time in both aspects at one of the most advanced levels of minor league baseball. A tall task for a barely 20 year-old kid who doesn’t speak any English in an alien environment with money to burn. He makes the routine plays, the tough plays and the fabulous plays. He has a cannon for an arm that would freeze runners at third base if he was playing right field. But, I think he either plays third, or DH. No other position would suit him. Why, you ask? Moving on…
This paragraph is pure speculation on my part, but according to some people, I’m 99.9 percent right about things. A lot of his errors have come on infield pop ups. When the ball’s on the ground, he’s fine. Just the usual barehanded attempts and a few bobbles. He has plenty of range which comes from his days as a short stop, but sometimes too much range. He drifts in front of the short stop from time to time. He doesn’t have stone hands either. So, what is the problem? Here’s my theory…Dayan has a depth perception issue. He has a lot of trouble on infield pop ups as I said, completely missing two just last night. So much so that most of the time he is called off by the short stop or left fielder. At the plate, when he swings and misses, he’s always in front of the ball. Always. I have a minor depth perception problem myself and I have a hard time catching a ball in mid air. When I go to the batting cage, I’ll square up on a ball perfectly and the next pitch in the same location, I swing too early. It’s not inconceivable that Viciedo could have a minor vision problem. Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann had vision problems that resulted in him having surgery and having to wear corrective lenses. So, if Dayan is struggling with a depth perception problem, that would severely hinder him from playing first base or the corner outfield spots, obviously. One would hope that the White Sox brass would have checked out those things beforehand, but I wouldn’t rule it out completely. Of course, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong. On the next episode of JPNese, I’ll talk about character…
Bring it in for the real thing,