After solid seasons in 2011 and 2012, David Vidal’s bat never seemed to get going in 2013. The 23-year old started the year back in Pensacola and ended it in Bakersfield with minimal improvement.
Vidal opened the season as the starting third baseman for the Blue Wahoos. In the opening series against Tennessee, he went 1-14 with a run, RBI, 2 walks, and 6 strike outs. From April 12th to 20th, he would see one of his better stretches during his year in Pensacola when he registered a hit in 5 of 8 games. During this time, on the 14th against Mobile, he recorded his only AA home run this season. On the 26th, he recorded his first multiple hit game with 2 singles against Tennessee. He also had 2 walks in the game. Overall, in the month of April, he had a .158/.262/.211 line in 66 plate appearances with 8 walks and 23 strikeouts.
May got off to a much better start contact wise for Vidal. In his first 7 games, he went 6-20, all singles, but only had drove in one run. For the rest of the month, he would see back-to-back games with a hit only 3 times. On May 29th, he hit his first extra-base hit, a double, since the home run back on April 14th. As he struggled to improve over last month, he compiled a .206/.261/.222 line over 70 plate appearances. He only walked 5 times but lowered his strikeout total to 14 during May.
Vidal would only see 3 more games with Pensacola, but he made the most of them. He went 5-11 in those games with 4 runs and 3 RBI. On June 7th, he would make his first start with Bakersfield. Although he was held hitless in that game against Lake Elsinore, he would go 5-16 in the following 4 games with 2 runs and 2 RBI. As it seemed he was flashing signs of life, he went 1-18 in the next 5 games. On the 21st against High Desert, he would start another hot streak with a 3-4 day that included a home run. That game plus the next three saw him go 6-15 with a double, triple, 2 home runs, 2 walks, and only one strikeout. June saw Vidal’s number progress slowly as he hit a .225/.330/.363 line in 95 plate appearances. He finally had a jump in contact, on base ability, and power numbers. He also showed a better eye with 11 walks but he still had 19 strikeouts.
The month of July got off on the right foot once again as he hit safely in 8 of the first 10 games. During that stretch, he went 12-36 with 5 doubles. For the rest of the month, he did not get a hit in back-to-back games and only had one extra-base hit while hitting 6-39. In July, he totaled a .240/.296/.320 line in 81 plate appearances but tallied only 5 walks and struck out a season high 25 times. As his average continues to trend upward, his on base and power numbers slipped this month.
August was the most consistent month for Vidal. He hit safely in his first 6 games to go 8-22 with 2 doubles and a home run. He also had a 4-game hit streak from the 12th to the 17th in which he went 5-14 with 2 doubles, a walk, and a strikeout. After that 4-game stretch, he ended the season on a 4-26 mark with 8 strikeouts over the last 8 games. In total, he put up a .246/.288/.377 line in 75 plate appearances to end the season. Once again, he walked less, 4 times, and had 20 strikeouts.
The 2014 season will be a very big one for Vidal as he has Seth Mejias-Brean breathing down his neck for playing time. While he has shown some tools in the past, the last year and a half has been very unkind to him from an offensive point of view where he has struggled to hit for average or power. His walk rate and strikeout rates haven’t been the problem with the decline offensively, but his complete drop off in power has hampered his output across the board. The defense plays, but he has to get his bat going or that won’t matter.
For more player season review, you can see the entire list here.