Viciedo won't be the answer to White Sox third base question

795986.png

Viciedo won't be the answer to White Sox third base question

When the White Sox signed a 19-year-old Dayan Viciedo in December of 2008, questions persisted about his ability to remain at his native third base. Viciedo stayed at the hot corner in his first two professional seasons, but was bumped to right field in 2011. This spring, Viciedo was moved to left, where he's played in his first full major-league season.

But with Brent Morel on the disabled list and Orlando Hudson hitting .183 as a member of the White Sox, some have wondered whether Viciedo could return to third base. Kenny Williams even broached the idea to the White Sox coaching staff, although it wasn't received too positively.

"It was just in conversation and I was shot down in the room pretty quickly," Williams said. "He wasn't as bad over there as people want to think he was. I think in an emergency situation he can go in there."

But that's just an in an emergency. The Sox have Hudson, Eduardo Escobar and Brent Lillibridge on their roster, all with experience at third base. All three of those players would likely enter a game at third over Viciedo.

Three months ago, Viciedo looked lost at the plate. It wasn't until the final week of spring training that he started to hit, although he tailed back off in April, posting a .585 OPS with 18 strikeouts and one walk in the month. But more noticeable was his lack of defensive confidence at his new position.

Williams noted during spring training that Viciedo looked "uncomfortable" in left field, which director of player development Buddy Bell took a step further.

"I'm sure there's a little bit of that, being able to separate your offense and your defense. I don't think there's any question about that," Bell told CSNChicago in March. "It would affect the most veteran of guys, so I would say yeah, it would affect him somewhat."

What Bell was getting at was that Viciedo's defensive issues could very well have been creeping into his offensive approach, leading to an all-around struggle. As Viciedo has looked more and more comfortable in left field, his offense has come around. Since May 2, Viciedo has hit nine home runs with a .829 OPS, right about in line with what was projected out of him prior to the season.

If Viciedo were moved back to third and wasn't comfortable there, it very well could negate the entire argument as to why he should be shifted out of left field. That's the worry, and that's something of which White Sox certainly appear cognizant.

"He's probably be scared to death right now," Williams said. "He's probably best where he is."

Four top prospects among 19 players invited to White Sox big league camp

Four top prospects among 19 players invited to White Sox big league camp

Four of the team's top-10 prospects and a former All-Star are among the 19 nonroster invitees to White Sox big league camp this spring.

The team announced Monday that prospects Michael Kopech, Zack Collins, Zack Burdi and Spencer Adams have all been invited to camp next month. Everth Cabrera, an All-Star in 2013 for the San Diego Padres, Cody Asche, Cory Luebke and Geovany Soto are among the eight minor league free agents who also received an invitation. Pitchers and catchers report to camp in Glendale, Ariz. on Feb. 14 while the team holds its first full-squad workout on Feb. 18.

Kopech was acquired in the Chris Sale trade in December while Collins and Burdi were both selected in the 2016 amateur draft. Adams was drafted in 2014.

Signed earlier this month, Soto is expected to earn a spot on the 25-man roster. Soto, who played for the White Sox in 2015, finished last season with four home runs and an .809 OPS in 86 plate appearances for the Los Angeles Angels.

Cabrera, who produced 4.6 Wins Above Replacement between 2012-13, hasn't played in the majors since he appeared in 29 games for the Baltimore Orioles in 2015. Luebke, who has twice had reconstructive elbow surgery, finished with a 9.35 ERA in nine games for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. Asche blasted 31 homers with a .240/.298/.385 slash line in 1,287 plate appearances since 2013 with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Other minor league free agents include: left-handed pitcher David Holmberg, right-handers Blake Smith and Anthony Swarzak, and catcher Roberto Pena.

White Sox minor leaguer pitchers Aaron Bummer, Brian Clark, Jace Fry and Matt Purke, infielders Nicky Delmonico and Danny Hayes, and outfielder Courtney Hawkins also have been invited to camp.

Fast Break Morning Update: Tim Raines elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Fast Break Morning Update: Tim Raines elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Former White Sox OF Tim Raines elected to National Baseball Hall of Fame

Between Cubs' victory lap and Hall of Fame vote, Sammy Sosa barely staying in the picture

Bulls' continued inconsistencies 'an issue of focus'

Report: Bears set to hire Curtis Modkins as running backs coach

Wrigley Field named one of the happiest places in the world by CNN

Tim Raines shares thank you message after being elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Bulls Talk Podcast: What went wrong for the Bulls against the Mavericks?

Hawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks' bottom six steps up in Colorado

Big Ten Talk Podcast: Picking contenders and pretenders in the Big Ten title race

Jerry Reinsdorf, Frank Thomas congratulate Tim Raines on Baseball Hall of Fame election