6’3” and 225 lbs out of California… Meet Cory Vaughn, son of former major leaguer, Greg Vaughn.
Vaughn was first drafted by the Phillies in 2007 right out of High School, and luckily for us, he went ahead and decided to turn them down and go on to college. He was drafted in the 43rd round with Philly, but in 2010, he was the 4th round pick for the New York Mets. A right-handed guy all the way, Vaughn is someone a lot of people have had their eye on since he was drafted.
Vaughn brings an always likeable combination of speed and power to the table. He also possesses a pretty decent arm, and has logged time in all three outfield spots. The routes that he takes to balls are not always perfect, but his above average speed allows him to get by. I do believe in his baseball IQ so it is plausible that he might end up playing as an average defender in CF someday – but it seems much more likely that he will play an above average corner outfield spot. A lot of players show speed in the lower levels, but from what I have seen, I do believe Vaughn can steal 15-20 bases throughout all levels, including the MLB.
Vaughn’s best asset, by far, is his power. At 23, the kid demonstrates an ability to be a human launchpad. The ability to hit home runs is his claim to fame, however the issue is, he needs to start making a little more contact. As always, because Vaughn is young, he needs to work on pitch recognition. The good news on that front is if you track the way he has played offensively throughout his career, he is doing just that recently. The improvements might be small and subtle, but trust me when I say that they are present, and Vaughn still has a bright future.
A quick look at Vaughn’s career MiLB stats so far will back up my claims. He started off in Brooklyn in 2010, where he batted .307 (81 – 264) with 14 doubles, five triples, and 14 Home Runs. He also stole 12 bases in the short time down there, so the numbers in Brooklyn were promising. In 2011, he started the year in Savannah where he had a .405 OBP in just under 300 PAs with a .286 average. He was slugging only .408 but the Mets promoted him to St.Lucie regardless, believing in his talent. He struggled in the second half of 2011 in Advanced-A, batting only .219 – although his slugging percentage stayed about the same.
A full season in St.Lucie in 2012 gave us some really interesting numbers to take in. Vaughn was able to rack up 23 HRs, 25 2Bs, and 3 3Bs while batting .243 for the year. Despite the low average, he did improve his walk rate and overall patience. The 114 strikeouts in 456 ABs are not pleasant, but they can be improved if Vaughn continues to take the steps he is making. The 2012 season showed an improvement in overall patience and pitch selection – which is indicated by his improved batting average and OPS. He also stole 21 bases with an 84% success rate.
To wrap it all up, I will admit that Cory Vaughn does not jump off the page as a can’t miss prospect. There are no guarantees he will fix his contact issues or improve his pitch selection at the plate. However, it would be absolutely foolish to give up on a 23-year old outfielder with above average speed and raw power.