2015 Canadian draft list …. Canadians in College
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Letters of Intent
By Andrew Hendriks
Mere hours after undergoing surgery to remove approximately sixty percent of the meniscus cartilage from within his left knee, Michael Saunders walked out of a Florida hospital under his own power.
Having undergone a successful medical procedure, the freshly minted Blue Jays left fielder knew that his recovery time, originally rumored to have been within the five month range, had been expedited and that he could begin baseball activities in as little time as two weeks.
Despite the positive development, Toronto wasted no time in addressing an area that, without a healthy Saunders patrolling the astro-turfed expanses Rogers Centres outfield, could have been cause for concern heading into the 2015 season.
On Saturday, the Jays inked Dayan Viciedo to a minor league contract that comes complete with an invitation to big league camp this March.
Viciedo, 25, has spent the last seven seasons with the Chicago White Sox, the organization that signed the Cuban born outfielder as a amateur free agent in 2008.
In 483 MLB contests, the right handed hitting Viciedo has posted a .254/.298/.424 slashline to go with a total of 146 extra-base-hits (66 of which left the yard) in 1798 career plate appearances in the show.
At a glance, the slugging outfielder/third baseman/first baseman’s overall peripherals may leave much to be desired … however, once you dig a little deeper, his performance in regards to facing left handed pitching certainly bears noting.
Dayan Viciedo – .291/.331/.507 (487 PA)
If you’re keeping score at home, those splits represent the strongest showing for a Blue Jays left fielder with regards to facing south-pawed hurlers … including Saunders himself.
Kevin Pillar – .275/.315/.425 (86 PA)
Chris Dickerson – .245/.333/.296 (115 PA)
Ezequiel Carrera – .256/.329/.301 (77 PA)
Andy Dirks – .265/.328/.392 (200 PA)
Chris Colabello – .203/.282/.297 (131 PA)
Michael Saunders – .223/.279/.357 (622 PA)
Of course, the initial reaction to Saunders injury also brought with it the suggestion of giving Danny Valencia a shot in left field along the aforementioned talent. That said, although the 30 year-old utility infielder mashed lefties to the tune of a career .327/.368/.502 slashline in 552 plate appearances, the five year veteran has yet to appear in the outfield during a MLB contest and may be more valuable to the club as an infielder.
On that note, Viciedo is no Mike Trout with the glove and although his defense is often an area of harsh criticism, the bat is intriguing enough to at least earn an extended look this spring.
If he should have a strong showing this March, could the Blue Jays be entertain the option of bringing Viciedo north as a potential platoon option for the 2015 season?
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