by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There always seems to be expectations that the White Sox Dayan Viciedo can figure it out and post a big season. However, one way or another, he always seems to fall flat. Just look at his line from 2014:
523 At Bats
.231 Batting Average (121 Hits)
21 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.281 On Base Percentage
.405 Slugging Percentage
.261 Batting Average on Balls in Play
The BABIP was the ninth worst among qualifiers for the batting title, but it’s not like he hit the ball hard (17.3% line drive rate) consistently. In fact, he was even worse in the second half (14.9%) and hasn’t had a half north of 19% since the first half of 2013. In fact, he has been above 20% in just two of his past nine months of baseball.
How can we expect anything different at this point?
The lack of line drives, coupled with a lack of speed and poor plate discipline (21.7% strikeout rate in ’14, 21.6% for his career) means hitting for a strong average is out of the question. In fact, it’s easy to imagine his strikeout rate increasing given his propensity to chase pitches out of the zone (36.2% in 2014 vs. a league average of 31.3%, though it was an improvement over his 39.2% career mark).
So he has unlimited power to make up for it, right? He hit 21 HR, courtesy of a 14.1% HR/FB. It’s a solid number, though still pales in comparison to his big 2012 campaign (20.5%). He did own an average distance of non-groundballs of 273.443 in 2014, better than his mark in 2012 (267.372) so there is some hope that he can continue in the 23-27 HR range. However, is that really enough?
Without speed and without average upside, it’s hard to get excited about a 25 HR hitter who isn’t going to score a lot of runs or push 85 RBI. Power is at a premium, so there’s value, but it’s certainly not excessive.
There is the chance that he’s moved in the offseason, and then we will have to completely reassess (though he’s hit more home runs on the road, 34, than at home, 32). At this point he remains nothing more than an OF4/5 type, at best, and maybe even better suited to be a bench player.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Heat Maps