Dayan Viciedo is on a path of destruction.
No man, woman or child is safe right now. Well except for this child, he is safe.
The Cuban Tank is destroying everything in it’s way in May and only children running onto the field can avoid the carnage. After a slow April, Viciedo is firing on all cylinders. In May he is hitting a slash line to the tune of 351/376/619. He has smashed eight home runs after only hitting three in April. He has added 24 ribbies. He had all of four in the opening month.
How do you stop a Cuban Tank? You don’t. You run for your damn life.
On May 13th, the Tank had dipped all the way below the Mendoza line to .196. Since then he has been on a war path. He has struck out just four times since after striking out 31 times in his first month and a half. Thankfully for the Sox, they had no other options at the time and let Viciedo swing his way through it. I mean he did swing his way off the island in the first place right Hawk Harrelson?
His OPS in May is .963! Only six players have a better line than that and one of them is the Tank’s teammate, Paul Konerko. The captain just had a fourteen game hitting streak end, but Viciedo is picking him up with a seven gamer of his own.
So what is the reason for Viciedo’s remarkable turn around?
Is it the weather? If you made a graph of fellow Cuban Alexei Ramirez it would almost arch perfectly from April to October. During his four year career he has started out slowing in April while peaking in July and starting to come down as we move into fall. It could be as simple as that. Perhaps he is finally comfortable in left field which has translated to the plate. Viciedo isn’t the most graceful left fielder in the game, but he has made tremendous strides in the outfield from his struggles in early April.
Or maybe he is just a kid playing in his first full season who had to accumulate himself to big league pitching. Remember, he played just 68 games the last two seasons while Ozzie Guillen trotted out Juan Pierre’s corpse into left.
Now his BABIP (batting average on Balls in play) is .361 in May. A number that is highly unlikely to be sustainable. The league average is somewhere between .290-.310. according to fan graphs. Now we eventually see these numbers dip a little, but the positive is he is hitting less ground balls and more line drives in May.
Sox fans are finally seeing why management felt at ease trading away Carlos Quentin. Viciedo has always had the bat speed and has always shown tremendous power, but now he is finally putting it all together. He is a very important piece to the White Sox lineup. When he is hitting for this kind of power, the Sox have five legitimate threats in the middle of their order.
In the month of May, Viciedo is one of the best slugging left fielders in all of baseball. Let’s hope it continues into June, July and beyond.
You can follow me on twitter @MidwayPat