Could Viciedo wind up in Charlotte?


Could Viciedo wind up in Charlotte?

Dayan Viciedo hasn't had a good spring. Through 23 at-bats, the 23-year-old has just a .426 OPS. But perhaps more concerning is that he's struck out 10 times. And he hasn't looked good in the field, either, culminating with him booting a ball in left field today.

That all led Tom Fornelli to wonder if Viciedo may begin the 2012 season with Triple-A Charlotte, with Kosuke Fukudome taking over a starting outfield spot. It's a good read, although I find it hard to believe the Sox would follow through with sending Viciedo to the minors.

First, it would shift the outfield alignment and probably hurt the overall defense of the club. Alex Rios would have to move back to center with Alejandro De Aza sliding over to left to accommodate Fukudome, who hasn't played an inning of left field in his major-league career. Maybe that'd be an overall improvement over having Viciedo in left, but the Sox would probably go from having two above-average defenders (De Aza, Rios) to just one (De Aza).

And of course, it'd be a tough pill to swallow for Viciedo. He doesn't have much left to prove at Triple-A after repeating the level last year -- from 2010 to 2011, Viciedo's plate discipline improved significantly, as did his on-base percentage. Defensively, it may be better for him to work out his kinks away from the spotlight, but offensively there's no reason to ship him back to the minors. Even if his spring training isn't good.

This isn't an absolute, though. If Viciedo's struggles persist into the regular season, perhaps he'll be a candidate to be sent down. But for now, I'd still expect him to be the starting left fielder on Opening Day.

White Sox Talk Podcast: How Sox fans are dealing with Cubs success


White Sox Talk Podcast: How Sox fans are dealing with Cubs success

In our next installment of the White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien is joined by Chris Kamka and Slavko Bekovic to discuss how White Sox fans are dealing with success on the North Side.

Later, White Sox fan and CSN producer Ryan McGuffey talks about his experience producing Cubs content. Finally, Cubs fan Nate Poppen shares his thoughts on Frank Kaminsky wearing a Steve Bartman jersey to the United Center before a Bulls-Hornets preseason game.

Check out the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast here:

White Sox coaching staff will rely more heavily on statistics

White Sox coaching staff will rely more heavily on statistics

Statistical analysis will weigh more heavily on the White Sox coaching staff’s daily decisions after Joe McEwing was elevated to Rick Renteria’s bench coach on Friday.

McEwing -- whose influence led to a 957 percent increase in defensive shifts utilized from 2013-16 -- replaces Renteria, who was named the team’s new manager on Oct. 3 after Robin Ventura announced he wouldn’t return.

Former player development director Nick Capra replaces McEwing as third-base coach while Curt Hasler was promoted from minor-league pitching coordinator to replace bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen.

McEwing’s promotion is another sign the franchise will stress the use of statistical analysis when constructing its lineup, etc., a move Ventura suggested was in progress when he said the White Sox needed a new voice. Renteria likes how he worked with McEwing last season and suggested analysis would have a big impact on their day-to-day operations.

“All the information that is provided to us plays an important part in how we move forward,” Renteria said. “We look at outcomes, which are the statistical analysis aspects. But then we are also trying to stay ahead of the curve. We do a lot of video work, trying to see if guys are changing their approaches. In terms of the shifts, we did incorporate shifts, but we also did some modifications as was to be expected when you see guys changing approaches with two strikes and things of that nature or runners in scoring position -- all those different aspects that come into play.”

Similar to many organizations, the White Sox have drastically modified how they align themselves defensively over the past four seasons under McEwing and general manager Rick Hahn. According to FanGraphs, the White Sox went from being ranked 27th in shifts implemented in 2013 to ninth by 2014 with an increase from 102 to 588. The White Sox shifted 1,079 times last season and McEwing has been instrumental in that transformation, several team sources said. It’s reasonable to expect analysis will be used more often in lineup construction and game strategy under Renteria, too. He didn’t shy away from the use of statistical analysis when he managed on the other side of town in 2014, Cubs third-base coach Gary Jones said last week.

“It’s part of our daily preparation,” Jones said. “Rick is good with it as we are right now. It was definitely a part of the equation, no doubt.”

[RELATED: White Sox announce coaching staff changes] 

Renteria cited familiarity when asked why he didn’t go outside of the organization for coaching staff hires. McEwing has long been held in high regard within the franchise and interviewed for managerial openings in Houston and Texas in 2014. Renteria suggested McEwing’s work ethic -- and how he works -- had a big impact on his promotion.

“Having sat side by side (with McEwing) going over a lot of game reviews and studying the opposition and setting up defense, I got to know him quite well,” Renteria said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s in there early looking for anything that will give us an edge. His managing experience and coaching experience also allows him an opportunity to be able to serve me well.

“It’s a good fit. We both are kind of high energy. Joey might be a little higher energy than me and I didn’t think that was possible. He brings a lot to the table.”

The White Sox announced the rest of its staff -- first-base coach Daryl Boston, pitching coach Don Cooper, hitting coach Todd Steverson, assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks and bullpen catcher Mark Salas -- would return in 2017.