Cal junior 1st baseman Andrew Vaughn, the 2018 Golden Spikes (College Baseball’s version of the Heisman Trophy) winner and the 2019 Golden Spikes finalist, is the 3rd overall pick to the Chicago White Sox in the 2019 MLB Draft.
Vaughn is the highest Cal Bear to ever hear his name called in the MLB Draft. Previously, the highest drafted Cal Bear was Brandon Morrow as the 5th overall pick to the Seattle Mariners in the 2006 MLB Draft.
Considered by most scouts as the best hitter in college baseball for the past couple of years, Andrew Vaughn (6’0”, 214 lb from Santa Rosa, California) has an uncanny combination of both plate discipline and power. He is a high MLB draft pick despite being an undersized right handed first baseman, which is frowned upon by traditional baseball scouts, although there have been some rumors in some pre-draft reports of teams considering moving Vaughn to 3rd base. Vaughn is expected to move up the minor league system fairly swiftly like most of the recent Golden Spikes winners, who all becomes impact MLB players 2-3 years after winning the award.
Many MLB draft pundits believe that Vaughn will become a guy that hits over 0.300 with 30+ homers annually in the MLB.
In addition to hitting with power with the college baseball metal bats, Vaughn showed that his power is for real last summer with stints with both the Cape Cod League in Massachusetts and with the USA National Team playing in an international tournament in North Carolina.
In his collegiate career, Vaughn has batted 0.376 with 50 total homers (2nd in Cal history behind only Xavier Nady). His 2018 campaign included a full season line of 0.402 batting average, 0.531 on-base percentage, and 0.819 slugging percentage to go with 23 homers and just 18 strikeouts.
Vaughn’s 2019 season, which came to an end this past weekend at the Fayetteville Regional, saw him being walked at a much much higher rate. Nonetheless, Vaughn still put up 0.381 batting average to go with a 0.544 on-base percentage, and 0.716 slugging percentage for his team high 15 homers.
What makes Vaughn very special is his advanced approach at the plate. Fangraphs grades Vaughn as having the best hit tool in this draft. Vaughn has a 40 now/65 future grade for hitting in the 20-80 scouting scale (80 is the max, 60+ is essentially superstar); his “Raw” and “Game” hitting tools are graded as 45/60 and 65/65 for now/future. If Vaughn gets to that 60-65 future projection, we are talking about him becoming the best hitting prospect (like Vlad Guerrero Jr earlier this year before his call up) in all of baseball. In a Ringer article, ESPN’s Keith Law is quote as saying that “I think teams are having trouble valuing [Andrew Vaughn] because his production has been so good that analytical models lack comparable players,”
Vaughn came to Cal as a two-way player but has given up on pitching to focus on hitting since his sophomore year.
It is important to note that Andrew Vaughn does have the option to return to Cal to complete his senior season. This out gives him some leverage to negotiate for his signing bonus, but all signs point to Vaughn playing pro ball as soon as this summer. However, barring some strange turn of events, expect Andrew Vaughn to turn pro after being drafted.
Congratulations to Andrew and best of luck to him in the next level!