BOSTON — The way he plays when he’s in a groove, Dayan Viciedo gives the White Sox hope he’s a dynamic offensive player.
The outfielder is a player the White Sox have said in the past they believe Viciedo is capable of becoming a middle-of-the-order bat after he produced 25 home runs and 78 RBIs in 2012. But when that window closes for the 25-year-old is surely a topic of discussion among the team’s front office as Viciedo has been one of the team’s most mentioned players since last winter when it comes to trades.
Teammate Jose Abreu said he believes there’s plenty of potential remaining in Viciedo, who has a .333/.368/.778 slash line with five homers and 11 RBIs in the past 10 games.
“He has a lot of talent,” Abreu said through a translator Tuesday. “There are some ups and some downs and he’s been working really hard this year. The success he’s having is due to that. But there is no doubt there is way more in there. I think there is a lot more in there and I think if he continues to work as hard as he has he’ll get what he wants to get.”
The White Sox know the potential is there. Viciedo helped to carry the team through the first 23 games of the season when he had a .377/.421/.565 slash line and showed great discipline at the plate.
But it’s whether or not they can handle the struggle in between that is the biggest factor with Viciedo. From April 24-June 26, a span of 56 games, Viciedo had a .585 OPS with five homers and 14 RBIs. The White Sox would like to see fewer peaks and valleys in Viciedo’s stat line.
“You see the talent that’s there, but consistency is the one that you see more of it,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s streaky. As a young player, he’s been pretty streaky. He’ll go through periods where he does stuff like (Monday) and we’ve seen it in the past where he can carry you for a week. Then he gets carried away trying to pull too much and hit it too far instead of just letting his talent and the contact part of it take over. Then, he’ll fall back into a rough stretch until he finds it again.
“That’s part of growing up and getting better and understanding how to kind of go through those waves.”
Ventura has preached patience with Viciedo. He understands not everyone is a superstar right off the bat and pointed to Boston’s David Ortiz as an example. He also agrees with Abreu’s assessment, that Viciedo is a big talent waiting to blossom.
“It didn’t click in the first go around (for Ortiz),” Ventura said. “He had decent seasons, but you see what happens when you see the maturity process happens as a baseball player. Just because it doesn’t happen immediately doesn’t mean it’s not there.
“Absolutely. I think there’s more there.”