2012 will be an important year for Dayan Viciedo.
According to the White Sox’ official Twitter feed, general manager Kenny Williams said Saturday that the 22-year-old Cuban is “the favorite to start in right field” in the wake of the Carlos Quentin trade.
Viciedo struggled in the big leagues last year, posting a weak .255/.327/.314 batting line in 113 plate appearances. But he has a .284/.332/.453 career slash line in the minors and has slugged 20 home runs in each of the past two seasons at Triple-A Charlotte. His bat is major league-ready, and his defensive abilities — while limited — can’t be that much worse than Quentin’s. The newest Padre rates as an extremely poor outfielder by just about any measure.
Perhaps there are a few who still miss the slope of Tal’s Hill rising from center field, but George Springer isn’t one of them. He lassoed a 403-foot fly ball from Todd Frazier in the seventh inning of Game 6, reaching nearly to the top of the wall to prevent the Yankees from gaining on the Astros’ 3-0 lead.
According to Statcast, a fly ball with an exit velocity of 103.6 MPH and a launch angle of 29 degrees lands for a home run 72% of the time. That wasn’t going to fly with the Astros, who were facing runners on first and second with one out and saw Justin Verlander‘s pitch count rapidly approaching 100.
It wasn’t long before the Yankees tried for another home run, however, and this one sailed far above the heads of all of the Astros’ outfielders. Aaron Judge lofted a 425-foot shot to left field in the eighth inning, destroying a first-pitch fastball from Brad Peacock and finally getting New York on the board.
The Yankees currently trail the Astros 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth.