Previously, Bryan brought you number 10 on our prospect list, Jeurys Familia. As promised, we will continue to bring you a prospect a day for the next 10 days until we reach numero uno. On to number 9: 21-year-old outfielder Cory Vaughn.
The first thing going for Vaughn is his pedigree, obviously. He is the son of 4-time All Star Greg Vaughn, and has the polish to show for it. At 6’4”, his size eclipses his father’s frame by a solid 4-inches, and that translated to some serious power potential from the right side of the plate. Vaughn was drafted last summer out of San Diego State, where he plodded his trade under the watchful gaze of another perennial All-Star slugger, Tony Gwynn.
Once drafted, Vaughn reported promptly to the Mets’ short-season affiliate in Brooklyn
for his first professional season. Vaughn’s numbers there were nothing short of impressive, hitting for both average and power, showing solid plate discipline and even stealing a few bases (12). Over 72 games, Vaughn put up a .307 batting average (with an even more impressive .396 on-base percentage) while slugging .557 on the strength of 14 homers and 56 RBIs. He showed a propensity for the strikeout (63 in about half the length of a full major league season, against pretty weak competition), and you have to wonder what will happen when he begins to press more for power at a higher level.
So why not have Vaughn ranked higher? Probably because there’s no reason for him not to put up these numbers. His pedigree and college experience mean that he’s pretty refined as a player, so he’s much closer to his ceiling than a player like, say, Wilmer Flores. Similarly, the level of competition faced in the New York-Penn League is pretty low, perhaps even lower than what he was dealing with in college.
Considering his success, it will be fascinating to see what Sandy and Co. do with Vaughn once the season starts. Omar Minaya ran into trouble with rushing younger prospects along in the system, but a player like Vaughn who has been around the game is probably better prepared to move up through the ranks at a steady clip. Whether the tools can keep up with the pedigree will be the real question with Vaughn.
Whether Vaughn will stick in center field or will move to one of the corners (like his dad) will come in time. For Vaughn’s sake, hopefully he can maintain the ability to play center as he rises, where his power will really play. Vaughn’s continued progress should be a really interesting, and hopefully fairly positive storyline to watch as the season begins in April.