With the deadline for the 40 man roster decisions looming, the Mets have many difficult decisions to make. One player the Mets will have to decide to protect is outfielder Cory Vaughn. Vaughn is a powerful right handed slugger who has been inconsistent throughout his minor league career. Despite his power potential, I believe Mets should not protect him on the 40 man roster.
Vaughn has an impressive combination of power and speed, but he also has a lot of flaws. One of his most significant flaws is that he is prone to strikeouts. In 2013 for Double-A Binghamton, Vaughn struck out a total of 78 times in just 71 games. With this alarming amount of strikeouts, it is unlikely he can hit for a high average in the majors.
Vaughn also struggles to hit right handed pitching. For the past three minor league seasons, Vaughn has hit only .231with .383 slugging percentage against right handers. This severely limits his value because it shows he will likely end up in a platoon role. It is not that hard to find someone who can hit lefties in a part time role, so losing Vaughn will not be devastating.
Vaughn will be approaching 25 years old in 2014, and he has yet to consistently produce in a full season. While he hit well for single A Savannah in 2011, he struggled immensely for advanced A St. Lucie. He hit .219 with nine home runs and a .308 OBP for St. Lucie in the 2nd half in 2011. The following season he showcased his power for St. Lucie with 23 homeruns, but his average was a disappointing .243. For AA Binghamton this year, he posted pedestrian numbers. Vaughn hit .267 with 10 home runs, 50 RBI and a .769 OPS in 71 games.
Even if the Mets leave Vaughn unprotected, they will probably get him back. For the reasons I listed above, most teams will not keep him on the 25 man roster the whole season. He needs more seasoning in the minors, and his upside is not high enough for a team to stash him on the bench the whole year.
The Mets also have little room on 40 man roster to keep Vaughn. With some players coming off the 60 day disabled list, the Mets already have four players too many. The Mets also have to clear space for offseason acquisitions, and they will have to protect top prospects like Steven Matz. Cory Vaughn is a nice prospect, but he is not someone they need to keep.
(Photo Credit: Gordon Donovan)