Monday, April 23, 2012
Streaking/Slumping: Rios going retro
By Bruce Levine
Alex Rios is comfortable in right field while Brent Morel has struggled at the plate to start the season.
1. Philip Humber, SP: One of the hottest players in baseball pitches for the White Sox and who can argue with the 21st perfect game in the 136-year history of the game? The most impressive thing about Humber’s feat on Saturday was the pitch count (97) and, as the fifth starter, that he had to wait over two weeks to get his second start of the season. Humber, the third overall selection in the 2004 draft by the New York Mets, is the latest miracle delivered by pitching coach Don Cooper, who has worked his magic again in transforming someone else’s failed No. 1 pick into a White Sox success story.
2. Alex Rios, OF: The underachieving Rios is off to his best start since 2010 when he played All-Star-caliber baseball the first three months of that season. Rios is batting .333 with a home run and 7 RBIs. He has 10 hits in his last 20 at-bats and has driven in six runs in a span of six games. Rios told ESPNChicago.com he is thrilled to be back in right field which he considers his natural position. Rios’ defense has been outstanding, except for a few isolated situations.
1. Dayan Viciedo, LF: After a decent start to the season Viciedo’s hitting has faded over the past week. He is stuck in a 2-for-22 slump with one RBI in the last week of play. To his credit, Viciedo’s defense has continued to improve as he gets use to the new outfield position. The coaching staff still believes Viciedo, who is batting .186 with two home runs and 2 RBIs, will be a strong run producer this season.
2. Brent Morel, 3B: Morel makes this list for the second straight week even with some improvement in the past couple of games. He is in a 3-for-25 slump, and 22 strikeouts in 51 at-bats projects to 220 whiffs in 500 at-bats. Hitting coach Jeff Manto has been working with the young infielder to help him drive the ball to right field. Defense has not been an issue, although Morel had a few rough games early on with the glove.