What I’d really like to see is a Major Leaguer go to Cuba to play. Kevin Youkilis grows out his beard another five inches, jumps in a raft and paddles to Havana. He tears up the Cuban Leagues on a steady diet of fastballs and plantains. This could end the Cold War for good. (It might already be over. I’m not good at history.) Dayan Viciedo is the latest Cuban prospect to defect (actually Aroldis Chapman is the latest; whatevs, it’s an introductory paragraph). With his defection… (Speaking of which, talk about a word that had nothing going for it. You don’t want a defect in anything, unless you’re defecting from somewhere… I found that interesting. Semantics? Perhaps.) Dayan hit well in spring training and people were saying that the White Sox had done it again with a Cuban prospect, just like Alexei Ramirez; this was before that was an insult. Early on, Viciedo struggled in the minors (Scouting the Unknown went over Dayan’s minor stats in June), then turned things around a bit as the season progressed. So can Dayan Viciedo help your fantasy baseball team in 2010?
I’m going to say doubtful with a chance of “not at all.” As with other recent Cuban raftees, Viciedo likes to swing the bat and doesn’t do much walking. In his first year of the minors at Double-A, he had a .317 OBP with 89 Ks to 23 walks. He can probably have success with this approach, because he do what he do. His line drive percentages went up in the 2nd half of the year, showing he was making better contact. Really his terrible April brought everything down. Interesting (to me, at least), in April he had his lowest line drive rate and highest fly ball rate as his numbers suffered. The Akron Chapter of Speculating on Small Sample Sizes says, maybe he was trying to do too much in his first month of minor league ball. He’s still (supposedly) only 20 years old. Another year (or at least a half year) will do him good. Best case scenario, two to three months in Triple-A and a mid-summer call up. Worst case scenario, we don’t see him until 2011. Outside of keepers, I wouldn’t bother with him in your March 2010 drafts.