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Saturday, June 22

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White Sox Thu May 31 2012

Dayan Viciedo Proves His Worth

For covering the White Sox this year, I try to not become too attached to the team. There is not much upside in personally liking a player too much. He could get hurt, he could get traded, or he could be demoted. Of course, the attachment could also cloud my judgment in writing about the team, and being objective would be really tough.

With that said, Dayan Viciedo is really testing me.

I just love how it's all clicking for him, how he's realizing some of is potential. Viciedo has been red hot in May, hitting .333 with 8 home runs and 23 RBIs. He's been a pleasant surprise this season, in a season that's been filled with pleasant surprises for the Sox.

Yes, his production has been somewhat unexpected. Though he's only 23, Viciedo has been through a lot over the last three years in the White Sox organization. He's had to work to get his weight down, and he struggled to find a position, playing some first, third and right field before settling into left field this year.

Last year, Viciedo hit only one home run in 113 plate appearances. In April this year, he batted .206 with three home runs and only four RBIs. It looked like the adjustment to big league pitching was thought to be a work in progress.

But the Cuban slugger has found his game over the last few weeks. He has been hitting the ball on the screws, driving the ball. Viciedo has been batting well with runners in scoring position lately, racking up RBIs by grounders hit through the holes or liners into the gaps.

The Sox have a luxury in the seventh spot in the lineup, the last power hitter before Alexei Ramirez and Orlando Hudson round it out. The spot in the order allows Viciedo to be aggressive, successfully straddling the line between that and reckless. He only has four walks this season, yet lately he manages not to swing at bad pitches in big spots.

I dig Viciedo's stoic demeanor, how he can get a clutch hit or home run and not smile or show any sort of emotion. Also, the nickname "Tank" is a total keeper.

It's great when a young guy gets it. Whether or not his hot streak lasts, or he continues to improve as a ballplayer, at least in one point in time Viciedo showed why the Sox signed him.

Viciedo has been fun to watch. I'll try to keep my connection to him at just that.

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