After disappointing debut, Viciedo likely moving to first base

Leave a comment

Billed as a big-bat third baseman when the White Sox spent $10 million to sign him out of Cuba last offseason, Dayan Viciedo “certainly appears to be gradually making his move across the diamond” according to MLB.com’s Scott Merkin.
Viciedo still considers third base his primary position after playing there almost exclusively at Double-A last season, but the 21-year-old added yesterday that he’ll “play wherever they tell me to play.” Mark Teahen is signed through 2012 and Paul Konerko is in the final year of his contract, so “wherever they tell me to play” will apparently be mostly first base.
Someone listed at 5-foot-11 and 240 pounds at age 21 was unlikely to stick at third base for long anyway, particularly after making 30 errors in just 284 chances in his minor-league debut. However, his lack of range won’t be much of an issue across the diamond and articles often referencing his “soft hands” indicate that he should be solid defensively at first base.
Unfortunately his bat is another issue, because Viciedo hit .280/.317/.391 with a terrible 89/23 K/BB ratio and just 32 extra-base hits in 130 games at Double-A. He was young for the Southern League, but Baseball America‘s scouting report says Viciedo “sits on fastballs to the point where he often looks helpless against offspeed pitches, doesn’t consistently center hittable pitches, and chases out of the strike zone too often.”
So in one year he’s gone from being a supposedly MLB-ready middle-of-the-lineup hitter and third baseman worth $10 million to minors-bound first baseman who barely cracked a .700 OPS at Double-A.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
5 Comments

Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

Kent Horner/Getty Images
1 Comment

Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.

Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.