From young minor league prospects to rookie big-league talent, Prospect Press will be providing an inside look at baseball's best talent for years to come. Today's Prospect Press focuses on Chicago White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo.
The 22 year-old prospect was promoted to the major leagues from Triple-A Charlotte last week and made his 2011 White Sox debut on August 26 in Seattle, filling in for the injured Carlos Quentin.
Signed out of Cuba in December of 2008, the 5'11, 230 lb. Viciedo made his professional debut in 2009, playing a full season with the Double-A Birmingham Barons. The White Sox bumped him up to Triple-A Charlotte prior to the start of the 2010 campaign. Though Viciedo was one of the youngest players in the International League, he compiled a solid .274/.308/.493 triple-slash line with 20 home runs. His low walk total (11) was the lone black eye on an otherwise impressive minor league season. The White Sox rewarded their young slugger with a late-season callup, and Viciedo returned the favor with an impressive .308/.321/.519 line in 104 at-bats, driving in 25 runs while playing in just 38 games.
Chicago opted to send Viciedo back to Triple-A prior to the start of the 2011 season. In January, Baseball America tabbed him as the #3 prospect in the White Sox organization behind Chris Sale and Brent Morel. Viciedo improved upon his 2010 numbers, fashioning a .296/.364/.491 slate with 20 home runs and 78 RBI in 452 at-bats before the major league call-up. A projected middle-of-the-order hitter, Viciedo profiles as an everyday rightfielder capable of hitting upwards of 30 home runs per season. He may never develop elite plate discipline, but his power potential will consistently keep pitchers honest.
Viciedo's fantasy value for the remainder of the 2011 season is largely dependent on the health of Quentin, who is currently recovering from a left shoulder sprain. The good news, however, is that Viciedo can also play first base and will receive occassional at-bats as the designated hitter. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen made it clear that he intends to play Viciedo on a daily basis and will not stash him on the bench. Also, he should receive plenty of opportunities to drive in runs hitting in the 5th spot in the batting order.
For those looking ahead to 2012, Viciedo will almost certainly open the season on the major league roster. His presence led to a plethora of Carlos Quentin trade rumors in the weeks leading up to the 2011 trade deadline, and an offseason deal remains a possibility. Even if the Sox hold on to Quentin, Viciedo's fantasy versatility makes him an intriguing option heading into next season.