When the White Sox signed Cuban defector Dayan Viciedo to a contract in December 2008, the hype surrounding him was tremendous. Baseball America ranked him as the 61st best prospect in baseball, and some talked about him as a potential 30-40 HR hitter at his peak.
Once Viciedo started playing, it quickly became evident that plate discipline was going to be a significant problem. The power numbers were OK, but the poor K/BB ratio seemed to indicate that there might be some issues here. To be fair, Viciedo was a 20-year-old in AA, but the scouting reports went beyond the numbers and indicated that Viciedo might also have some problems with his conditioning.
Thus far, Viciedo has solved at least part of his problems. Reports say he looked better on the field this season, and he bumped up his SLG from 390 in AA in 2009 to 525 in AAA prior to his promotion earlier this week. Suddenly, 30-35 HR doesn't seem out of the question for Viciedo down the line, particularly when you consider that he's a 21-year-old in AAA.
Ah, but the strikeouts. Fifty-two in 238 AB, with an 8/52 BB/K ratio. It would seem that Viciedo is still having trouble controlling the zone.
I don't know what to make of Viciedo. He seems to need at least another full season at AAA, but the Major League contract the White Sox signed him to means that they have to promote him at some point to get their money's worth. The unfortunate comparison I keep making is to Wily Mo Pena, who had to be promoted long before he was ready because he had been signed to a Major League deal.
If you need the power, you probably have to bid $14. This seems like a high risk/high reward move to me, and I'd also temper my bid because I think Mark Teahen will be back at some point and Viciedo will go back to AAA. However, the HR potential means that you can't simply cheap out entirely.