The 22 year old Cuban dynamo DH’d last night in Rochester as the Charlotte Knights came to town and did not disappoint. Considered to be the top power bat in the White Sox system, Viciedo displayed exceptional bat speed in his 5 plate appearances. What was most impressive, however, was his patience. Viciedo’s approach was to drive the ball up the middle rather than to take it out of the park. In the 1st, he was able to golf a pitch out of the zone into center field. After taking a first pitch called strike in his next at bat, Viciedo showed patience by laying off a breaking ball to wait on a fat 86 MPH fastball which he drove up the middle. He ended the night 2-5 but the bat speed and patience at the plate showed that his approach is well beyond his years. Hitting .392 in June, Viciedo’s call-up to the south side has been rumored for over a week. Where the White Sox choose to play him appears to be the major question mark. Despite a strong arm suitable for 3rd, Viciedo's defensive range is lacking. I fully expect him to split ABs between DH and a corner outfield spot as neither Juan Pierre nor Brent Lillibridge are everyday players and Adam Dunn is blowing more air with his bat than Muhammad Ali before a title fight.
Milledge shot through the Mets system as an alleged 5 tool player with large impact potential. Although a noticeable skill set is certainly there, Milledge is prone to blunders which leave spectators scratching their head. Last night was no different. Milledge was 3-5 at the plate and showed exceptional speed with a bunt single in the 6th and stolen base in the 10th. He was picked off in the 6th, however, with Jordan Danks at the plate after getting caught leaning. Milledge was also the guilty party in the 10th on Aaron Bates’ game winning RBI double as he attempted to make a diving catch in right instead of knocking the ball down to hold Brian Dinkleman at 3rd. It’s very difficult to walk away last night too high on Milledge simply because of the gaffes and I wonder if he will be out of options sometime soon. At 26 and hitting a passable .275, the time is now for Milledge to get his head on straight and perform at the level he was expected to by former Mets GM Steve Phillips.
What happened to you? Drafted in the 2nd round in 2001 by the Angels, McPherson was 0-5 and didn’t have a solid at bat all night. Expected to hit for power and average whilst utilizing a strong throwing arm, McPherson appears to be stuck in Triple A with Mark Teahen and Brent Morel in his path. McPherson has struck out 71 times in 190 ABs in 2011 while only clubbing 7 HR. Last season with AAA Sacramento, McPherson "only" struck out 101 times in 354 AB and hit 22 bombs. Seems like someone is pressing to me.
Why the Minnesota Twins have Alexi Casilla getting regular playing time over Plouffe is beyond me. Aside from a pretty dreadful error last night as a result of pulling his head up, Plouffe was tremendous. A 4-5 night was highlighted by a game tying solo HR in the 8th. He showed patience in the 2nd on a 6 pitch at bat resulting in a double to left but wasn’t afraid to go after the first pitch as he did in the 1st. His approach at the plate has been fantastic to watch. If I’m a Twins fan, I’d hope that Nishioka and Plouffe are anchoring the MIF at Target Field by the end of the year. Casilla may need to stick around, however, as Nishioka has a history of injury problems.
Nathan made his second rehab appearance last night and was able to wiggle around a lead off single to Jordan Danks to retire the 8-9-1 hitters 3-4, 4-3, and L7. The radar gun didn’t register last night for over half of Nathan’s 11 pitches but the fastball appeared to have good life. Nathan’s ability to work out of trouble is the next step in landing him back in Minnesota. Rumors placing him back with the Twins on Friday are circling and it wouldn’t shock me to see Rochester try to throw him tomorrow (weather permitting) before sending him back.