Left Field: Dayan Viciedo
Centerfield: Alejandro De Aza
Right Field: Alex Rio
Reserves: Dewayne Wise
Overview: The Chicago White Sox will the same starting outfield from a season ago. Dayan Viciedo will start in left, Alejandro De Aza will play center and Alex Rios is in right. The only difference in the White Sox outfield is Dewayne Wise will begin 2013 as the South Siders 4th outfielder.
Wise, who ended the 2012 season with the Sox, is famously known on the South Side for making “The Catch” in Mark Buehrle’s perfect game back in 2009. A career .228 hitter, Wise has spent almost all of his time in the MLB as a backup. Now 35 years old, the utility outfielder understands his role with the Sox, and will fill in nicely when one of the starters needs a rest.
Both of the White Sox corner outfielders played in the World Baseball Classic this spring. Rios played for Team Puerto Rico, while De Aza played for Team Dominican Republic. With some very competitive baseball already under their belts this year, I believe Rios and De Aza will come out swinging in 2013. Both players are coming off of career years, and I expect a lot of production from them this season.
In my eyes, Viciedo is the x-factor in the Sox outfield. The well-built left fielder has all the potential in the world. The key for Viciedo will be cutting down on his strikeouts. In 2012, Viciedo had 120 strikeouts compared to just 28 walks. Although it’s great that the young outfielder is aggressive at the plate, in order to produce bigger numbers, the 24-year-old needs to make more contact in 2013. If he can put it all together this season, 35 HR and 100 RBI is very doable for Viciedo.
The Sox starting outfielders combined for 59 HR and 219 RBI in 2012, but their defense is what separates them from the other outfields in the American League. Viciedo, De Aza and Rios all finished in the top three of the AL in Range Factor last year. A stat used to determine how many plays a player makes, Range Factor adds a players assists and putouts and divides it by total defensive innings played. The stellar play by the White Sox outfield was a big reason why the Sox finished first in defense in 2012. Although their offensive numbers will get all the attention, the Sox outfielders’ defense is just as important to the team’s success in 2013.
As a group, the Sox outfield is among the leagues best. If each guy can do what is expected of them this year, the Pale Hose will win 90 plus games this season.