An oblique strain that caused him to miss three weeks hindered Chicago White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo early last year, but after a poor June (.217, one home run, 10 RBI) he finished solidly after the All-Star break (.291, seven home runs and a .466 slugging percentage). He showed his potential as a power hitter in 2012, with 25 home runs and 78 RBI, so could better health early in the season bring a rebound in 2014?
Viciedo strikes out too much (98 times in 473 plate appearances last season, good for a 20.7 percent strikeout rate) and walks too little (24 times in 2013, a 5.1 percent walk rate) to come close to contending for a batting title at this point in his career. But a solid contact rate (77.8 percent last season, 77 percent over the last two seasons) is good enough to keep batting average from threatening the Mendoza line.
Viciedo played left field exclusively over the last two seasons, but he may be a bit of an odd-man out in the White Sox outfield with Adam Eaton, Avisail Garcia and Alejandro De Aza better defensively than he is. Chicago does not have a proven option at third base right now, with Matt Davidson and Conor Gillaspie currently atop the depth chart, and since Viciedo came up as a third baseman (23 games as a rookie in 2010) a transition back to the hot corner could come if he can handle the spot defensively.
Viciedo’s power numbers will carry his fantasy value, since his batting average (.264 career) will only be mediocre and he does not run (zero steal attempts in 2013). 20-25 home runs is a strong likelihood this year if he can avoid injuries and reach 500 at-bats again (505 at-bats in 2012), so there is upside potential in using a late pick on Viciedo in a mixed league draft.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.