The month of May has been very good to the Chicago White Sox. As the South Siders enter the month's final day by going for a sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays today at Tropicana Field, they find themselves sitting atop the A.L. Central. The Sox can thank a crazy amount of product from their lineup for the team's quick ascension to the top of the division.
Adam Dunn has hit 11 home runs so far this month, which is the same amount he hit all of last season. Paul Konerko has been so amazing I had to dedicate an entire column to his inexplicable greatness this morning. But it's just not Chicago's powerful-and-plodding 3-4 combo that has carried the lineup. Pretty much everyone is chipping in.
Alex Rios has been pretty OK this month (.725 OPS), and has Gordon Beckham has been even better (.747 OPS). The weather is starting to get warmer, which means Alexei Ramirez is ready to hit again. He's showing signs of doing just that. But perhaps lost amid of sea of mashers in the month of May has been young left fielder Dayan Viciedo, who is swinging the lumber about as well as any young hitter in the American League at the moment.
Check Viciedo's production:
#WhiteSox Dayan Viciedo has 8 HR & 22 RBIs in his last 15 games. He's struck out only 4 times over that span after 31 Ks in first 31 games.— Steve Berthiaume (@SBerthiaumeESPN) May 30, 2012
When the month started, there was talk of Viciedo getting sent down to Triple-A Charlotte. The 23-year old was hitting just .217 with three homers and four RBI. He took one walk in all of April. But in May, it's been a different story.
Viciedo is on fire right now, just like everyone else. His OPS in May is .963 OPS; he's even taken three (3!) walks. This is the slugger the White Sox expected they'd find when the team made the decision to trade Carlos Quentin this offseason.
Is it the weather? Given the way the temperature has always been tied to the success of fellow Cuban Ramirez, it makes some sense. Viciedo isn't striking out any less (18 in April, 17 so far in May), but he's seeing the ball better. He's always had amazing bat speed. Now the White Sox are finally starting to see some production.