12/31/11 6:30 PM EST
Viciedo likely to inherit right with Quentin gone
Sox want to avoid putting undue pressure on youngster
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
That task seems too lofty of a goal for the 5-foot-11, 230-pounder, who all but officially became the starting White Sox right fielder when Quentin was traded to the Padres on Saturday for right-handed Minor League pitcher Simon Castro and southpaw Pedro Hernandez.
"Listen, we've seen Carlos when he's healthy and when he's on one of his hot streaks, and it's hard to match up to that kind of talent and ability," said White Sox general manager Ken Williams of Viciedo's comparison to Quentin. "We are not trying to put that sort of pressure on Viciedo."
Viciedo came to the White Sox as a third baseman via a four-year, $10 million free-agent deal prior to the 2009 season. He has spent all but 67 games either playing for Double-A Birmingham or Triple-A Charlotte. But now he has seemed to find a home defensively in the outfield, and has shown in a limited 206 trips to the plate that the ball truly jumps off his bat.
In his first 2011 at-bat for the White Sox on Aug. 28 at Safeco Field, Viciedo dropped a single to center off of Jason Vargas. In his second at-bat, Viciedo ripped a three-run laser over the center-field fence that seemed to barely rise above the infield. Viciedo knocked out seven hits in his first 13 at-bats, but finished with a .255 average and didn't homer in September.
These numbers followed a .296 showing for the Knights, with 20 homers, 28 doubles and 78 RBIs, when Viciedo was one of the International League's most dangerous hitters. But where Quentin frequently got on base when he wasn't hitting -- either through drawing walks or his high propensity for getting hit by pitches -- Viciedo has worked just 11 walks in two stints with the White Sox.
Other White Sox hitters who struggled in 2011, such as Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham, will have to pick up where Quentin left off. And while the White Sox like the greater patience shown by Viciedo as a hitter, they don't want to cut his aggressiveness.
There's no reason for Viciedo to try to be Quentin, when playing up to his talent level should be a boon to the White Sox cause.
"Can he put up Carlos Quentin-type of numbers? Well, I'm not too sure," said Williams, knowing Quentin would have been the 2008 American League Most Valuable Player if not for a season-ending wrist fracture that cost him September.
Quentin also had 50 homers and 164 RBIs over the last two years.
"Let him evolve as a player," added Williams of Viciedo. "And let him play the game without aspiring to certain numbers, rather than aspiring to win a game."