Chicago White Sox: Should Andrew Vaughn be sent down?

CHICAGO - JULY 16: Andrew Vaughn of the Chicago White Sox bats during a summer workout intrasquad game as part of Major League Baseball Spring Training 2.0 on July 16, 2020 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
CHICAGO - JULY 16: Andrew Vaughn of the Chicago White Sox bats during a summer workout intrasquad game as part of Major League Baseball Spring Training 2.0 on July 16, 2020 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /
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Andrew Vaughn entered the 2021 spring training camp with a tough task. That was to prepare to be the everyday designated hitter for a contending Chicago White Sox team with World Series aspirations. The job was made even more difficult considering that Vaughn only had 55 Minor League games under his belt. Vaughn answered the bell by putting together a great spring and earning rave reviews from his teammates. 

Then disaster struck and Eloy Jimenez went down with an injury. Vaughn was thrust into the fire and asked to fill in at left field despite the fact he has never played outfield. Essentially Vaughn had to adjust to a new position on the fly while simultaneously adjusting to major league pitching. While Vaughn is extremely talented, that is unfair to ask any player.

Vaughn has held his own in the outfield. In fact, he has even saved some runs including robbing a home run off the bat of Franmil Reyes. Unfortunately, he has struggled at the plate. He is hitting a mere .188 and has mostly served as a platoon player against right-handed pitchers for Tony La Russa.

With Billy Hamilton back in the mix and Adam Engel expected to return in early May, the White Sox will no longer need Vaughn’s services in left field. With Jose Abreu locking down first base, that leaves DH as the only spot left for Vaughn.

Unfortunately for Vaughn, Yermin Mercedes has taken the job and ran with it. After a historic start to the season, it is unlikely that Mercedes surrendered his spot any time soon. Vaughn has only made 32 plate appearances as is. Is it really beneficial for Vaughn’s development to be making spot starts in the major leagues?

While the White Sox would love to have Vaughn’s bat off the bench, the AAA season starts in May. It may be beneficial for both parties to get Vaughn some consistent at-bats in Charlotte and then bring him back up in June once he finds a rhythm.

Obviously, that is not something that White Sox fans want to hear as he has the talent to put up big numbers. However, as it currently stands, Tony La Russa does not trust him. If he did, he would be playing more. Being thrown in and out of the lineup sporadically will not do Vaughn any good. Traditionally, young hitters press at the plate because they want to make the most of every at-bat and end up struggling.

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For more proof, just look at what a full season in the minors did for Zack Collins. He now looks like a more polished hitter and is much better defensively. Some more seasoning in the Minor Leagues may not the most fun move but it is one worth considering for the White Sox.