According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults—8.3 percent of the population—are living with the diabetes. Among these is Mets outfield prospect Cory Vaughn.
Vaughn, the son of former Major League slugger Greg Vaughn, was drafted out of high school by the Phillies in 2007 but opted to attend San Diego State University. He was then drafted by the Mets in last year’s draft.
All he’s done so far in the Mets system is hit, hit and hit some more. He clubbed 14 home runs last year for the Brooklyn Cyclones and got off to a hot start with the bat this year for the Savannah Sand Gnats. He was promoted to the St. Lucie Mets about a month ago.
From a young age, baseball dominated Vaughn’s life, and he remembers running around big league clubhouses with his dad. Though he always asks Greg for tips, Vaughn realizes that the two played in completely different eras.
“I’m my own player,” said Vaughn. “My game is a little bit different than my father’s was.”
While Vaughn is most known for his potent bat, he claims that the best aspect of his game right now is his defense. He has a cannon for an arm and worked hard on turning himself in a more complete player.
“It’s inevitable that you’re not going to go out there and get hits every single night,” Vaughn said. “When you’re not getting hits, you have to find a way to make sure that if you don’t get any, whoever’s up to bat isn’t getting any as well if they hit it in your area.”
Though Vaughn is looking forward to future success, he’ll never forget his first year in the minors last summer in Brooklyn. Vaughn loved the fans and atmosphere at Coney Island.
“It was a blast,” Vaughn recalled. “The biggest thing for me was that there was always something to eat after the game regardless of what time it was.”
Vaughn said he couldn’t get enough of the food in Brooklyn, but in one instance, it came back to haunt him.
Pizza is a tough food to handle for diabetics because of all the fat and carbohydrate contents. Vaughn took his insulin to balance his blood sugar, but he wound up taking too much. By the eighth inning of the game, Vaughn had to be removed since he almost passed out. Though this was the only time his diabetes affected his play, he says the Brooklyn pizza was well worth it.
Each day, Vaughn—and teammate Rylan Sandoval who also has Type I Diabetes—checks his blood sugar eight or nine times a day. After a while, Vaughn said he’s grown accustomed to this lifestyle.
“The longer you have it, the more you start to know your own body,” said Vaughn.
Diabetes has far from halted Vaughn’s progress. While at San Diego State, scouts realized he had big time potential. He was actually a college teammate of Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg.
Vaughn describes Strasburg as a “good dude” with some of the nastiest stuff he’s ever seen. How ironic would it be if the two face each other again, only this time in the big leagues with their respective NL East clubs?
With all the recent hoopla surrounding the trade of Carlos Beltran, Vaughn, who is a right fielder, said he couldn’t help but take notice. However, he claims that minor leaguers in general really don’t follow along with how the organization’s Major Leaguers are performing.
“I’m not worried about people ahead of me and how they’re doing,” Vaughn said. “I wish everyone the best of success. I’m just out here trying to be the best ballplayer I can be.”
Vaughn enjoyed playing with David Wright last week when Wright played a few rehab games with St. Lucie. Vaughn said he probably annoyed Wright with the amount of questions he asked, but this just shows that Vaughn genuinely wants to learn and get better.
While he’s been proclaimed as the Mets right fielder of the future, Vaughn is content with taking one step at a time.
“I try not to worry about things that I can’t control,” said Vaughn. “Wherever they want me to be, they’re going to do it.”
Vaughn’s story is an inspiration to the millions of people that suffer from Diabetes. He’s a great example of a person that hasn’t let his condition affect his dreams. Hopefully, if he continues his progress, he’ll be suiting up for the Mets real soon.