While White Sox first-round draft choice Andrew Vaughn gets acclimated to minor league baseball, he’s also paying attention to the up and coming prospects he hopes to play with one day on the South Side.
“Luis Robert getting called up to AAA, hitting two homers in his first game, that’s a really good sign,” Vaughn said by phone from Kannapolis this week.
If Robert is watching what Vaughn is doing, he’ll know that he is batting .288/.415/.442 with a homer and five doubles in his first 14 games at low Class A Kannapolis with a homer and walk-off single, and that in three ‘get your feet wet’ games in the Arizona League before that, Vaughn got went 9-for-15 with a home run, two doubles and four RBI.
Vaughn, the third overall pick in the draft, is probably two years away from Chicago. First baseman Jose Abreu’s contract is up after the season. And should the Sox sign the 32-year-old three-time All-Star to a two-or three year extension, the timing might be perfect for Vaughn to be the heir apparent at first base.
“That would be beautiful,” Vaughn said. “I just want to do anything I can to get there and help the team win. Talking with [Sox scouting director] Nick Hostetler, it’s a rebuilding period with the Sox. I just hope I can be part of that.”
The Sox are counting on that. Vaughn was the first primary first baseman since Eric Hosmer in 2008 and the first right-handed hitting first baseman since Dave McCarty in 1991 taken in the top five.
He knows he’s not a can’t miss, though. Only this week, the Sox sent catcher Zack Collins, taken 10th overall in 2016, back to Charlotte after he went 2-for-26 his first time up.
“The biggest thing is, it’s just a game of adjustments,” Vaughn said. “You have to get used to every level you get to and go out and work every day. Nothing is guaranteed.”
The 6-foot, 200-pound Vaughn is on the short side for a first baseman, but talent evaluators rave about Vaughn’s bat speed, hands and feel for the barrel of the bat. Vaughn says he keeps it simple, relying more on feel than breaking down video and swing mechanics.
“I mean, it really is see ball, hit ball,” he said. “I don’t really want to think too much at the plate because if I do I’ll get out of whack. The biggest thing is stay balanced, see the ball well and drive it. Put a good charge into it.”