Finally, we have GIF evidence of Dayan Viciedo's new leg kick. And so now we have a storystream on the matter.
The Tank faced three right-handed pitchers during White Sox's 4-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday. He saw 13 pitches, and he deployed some form of the leg kick on 11 of them.
You can see the most pronounced version of it against Bronson Arroyo, which makes sense since Arroyo throws a 70-mph curve. Viciedo saw two of Arroyo's looping breaking ball, taking the first pitch high before grounding this one hard to third. This is undeniably new:
For contrast, here is Viciedo becoming Kerry Wood's final strikeout victim on May 18, 2012. He bounces a hanging curve foul for strike two, then swings over one in the dirt for the punchout:
So you can see what Manto & Baines: Hitting Cops are trying to accomplish with this leg kick, and why they think it will ultimately help Viciedo stay back on breaking stuff.
Viciedo also saw two pitches in his second plate appearance against Armando Galarraga. After taking a fastball on the outside corner for strike one, he was able to one-hand this decent slider off the end of the bat into left field for a single:
But in his final at-bat against Nick Christiani, we see that he's still in habit-forming stage. After taking a strike and ball with a leg kick, he watches the third pitch (fastball high) with the old toe tap. When Christiani comes back with a hittable fastball, he's still in 2012 Mode, and it's a familiar outcome:
That might have shaken him out of it. The leg kick comes back over the next four pitches (foul ball, take for ball three, two more fouls). Then Christiani throws him the same fastball he swung through, and the result is quite different:
It looked like Viciedo's second spring homer off the bat, but it ended up as a 375-foot flyout to the warning track.
After his 1-for-3 day, Viciedo is 5-for-13 with one homer, no walks and no strikeouts. I don't think we can draw any strong conclusions yet, because it isn't close to clockwork. I'd like to see him against somebody with high-90s heat, as well as a few different lefties. He didn't use the leg kick against a lefty in the only such matchup I've seen, and that could be on purpose.
But I think it's OK to be encouraged by the progress made thus far. Jeff Manto and Harold Baines aren't forcing him to adopt the leg kick, allowing him to go back to his old ways if it completely throws him off. So far, the intentions behind the mechanism are bearing out in the results, so I imagine he'll keep sticking with it.