First, Dayan Viciedo was the Cuba's Best Teen Talent and referred to as the Cuban Babe Ruth in some circles, which might have been a compliment if it wasn't first applied to Jose Canseco. I noted that Joe Cowley's scoop seemed to come straight from Viciedo's agent, Jaime Torres.
Then a day later, Phil Rogers tried to pour cold water on the hype, with his own anti-hype courtesy of a Cuban baseball expert who cited Viciedo's questionable work ethic and a Rangers broadcaster who was quoted as saying "[he was] supposed to be the next Omar Linares when he was 14 or 15, but nobody would make that sort of comparison anymore or even close to it."
Now, the White Sox still hold the inside track to land Viciedo but the field is considerably more crowded, and the rhetoric considerably more ludicrous. Here are a few quotes from Scott Merkin's latest effort.
"The best indication as to where this young man stands in regard to his potential is through the amount of people that organizations are sending down here to check him out during workouts." -- Torres
"He has incredible potential and an explosive bat. He has incredible strength in his wrists, great hand speed and a great arm. If you were to ask me, 'Does he have Major League potential,' I would say, 'Absolutely.'" -- Alexei Ramirez
Barring another trade, Viciedo would compete with Josh Fields for the starting third base job if signed by the White Sox. Torres believes this young man is ready to contribute at the big league level on an everyday basis, even at 19. He feels Major League teams agree with his assessment.
One organization told Torres that they would move their incumbent third baseman to another position, in order to make room for Viciedo.-- Merkin
Read those last two paragraphs again. Viciedo is 19!
According to Merkin, the Sox think this 19 year old is ready to compete for a major league job and one team is willing to move their incumbent third baseman to make room for him. That's quite a player.
Want some more context? Here's a list of the only players (in the last 20 years) to compile 400 plate appearances in a season while under the age 21.
- Justin Upton
- Adrian Beltre
- Adruw Jones
- Edgar Renteria
- Alex Rodriguez
- Pudge Rodriguez
- Ken Griffey Jr. (Twice)
- Gary Sheffield
- Roberto Alomar
That's 5 sure-fire, no-doubt-about-it, Hall of Famers; and by the time their careers finish, maybe 2 or 3 more. Clearly, Viciedo is a borderline Hall of Famer already. The Sox should give him a major league contract... and flying pony.