Rookie Andrew Vaughn’s talent is showing through for the White Sox.
The third overall pick in the 2019 draft, Vaughn got off to a slow start.
Pressed into service in left field because of the long-term injury to Eloy Jimenez, he struggled at the plate and didn’t get his batting average back above .200 until April 23.
In the last week, however, Vaughn has been displaying why he was such a highly regarded prospect.
Though his power has been absent — he entered Friday with a .386 slugging percentage — Vaughn has been getting on base (.385 on-base percentage). He lifted his average to .273 with three hits in the second game of the doubleheader Thursday and has looked more like the hitter the Sox want and need him to be.
Playing on the big stage of the majors was an adjustment for Vaughn, who said he has tried to take a step back and slow things down.
“I definitely was pressing a little hard,” Vaughn said, “trying to create a result instead of just going out and having fun and playing the game that I love and have been playing since I was a little kid.”
Hitting has been just part of Vaughn’s acclimation. He made his 15th start in left field Friday.
Last year at Schaumburg, Vaughn took some reps in the outfield, and he was able to observe how the ball flies and spins off the bat and figure out how to get good jumps. He has carried those lessons over to the majors and played a credible left field despite being a first baseman by trade.
“It’s been a smooth transition for me,” Vaughn said. “The infield part definitely helps with the reaction. You are ready for every single pitch. Bringing that to the outfield is definitely beneficial.”
A turning point?
Dylan Cease had perhaps the best start of his career Thursday, throwing a seven-inning shutout in the Sox’ 11-0 victory against the Tigers. It was the third shutout for Sox starters, and Cease got Detroit to swing and miss 16 times.
He threw strikes on 66 of 91 pitches, fanning nine and walking none. The start was a far cry from the beginning of the season for Cease, who had struggled to harness his top-shelf stuff. In his previous start April 23 against the Rangers, Cease needed 80 pitches to get 10 outs.
“The stuff has always been there, but it’s about how to utilize it,” Cease said. “I’m not going to get too high or low from this one. There are a lot more starts to go, but that’s what we are looking for.”
This and that
The Sox, manager Tony La Russa said, are still waiting on the tally from the Schaumburg alternate site before knowing whether they’ve hit the 85% plateau of COVID-19 vaccinations.
Once a team reaches that mark, certain safety protocols — such as requirements for mask use in bullpens and dugouts — will be lifted.
† La Russa confirmed that Lance Lynn (strained right trapezius) will come off the injured list to start Saturday and will be followed Sunday by Lucas Giolito.