Before the season started, Chicago White Sox left fielder Vaughn would have been described as a first baseman with average fielding but has big power with the bat. He was packaged as a solid hitter, not polished, but a well enough hitter to handle big-league pitching this point.
Despite not being a left fielder, Vaughn’s name was called to man the position when Eloy Jimenez went down. As the season started, fans expected his value to come from his bat but feared sticking him in left would prove disastrous.
We’re twenty games into the season and the 23-year-old played a reverse card. To the surprise and delight of many, Vaughn has been holding it down in left-field. The bat, however, has been a different story.
Through his first eight games, Vaughn was 3 for 22 for a .136 average and a .227 slugging percentage. He looked uncomfortable and was getting beat at the plate in almost every plate appearance. He dominated at the collegiate and Single A levels but that does not mean he will dominate in the MLB. Keeping him in the show is handing him a shovel to dig himself even more into a hole offensively.
Eight games into his career, this was the mindset. That is until Vaughn shot a single past the Ranger shortstop to extend his hitting streak to a modest but slump-busting five games. In his last five games, Vaughn has been 6 for 16 with a double and a run. His batting average rose to .237 and his slugging percentage jumped to .316.
It all started on April 17 which was the first game in Boston. Vaughn took a knuckle-curve to right, his opposite side, at 101.3 mph off the bat and later came around to score. In the second game of the doubleheader against the Red Sox, he took a fastball again to his opposite side. On Tuesday against Cleveland, Vaughn hit a 103.3 mph shot up the middle.
Against his former teammate Dane Dunning on Thursday, Vaughn hit a 104.1 single straightaway center. Before the single, he hit a 109.8 ground ball that resulted in a double play. I guess it is safe to say he saw Dunning well. Later that game, Vaughn took Kyle Cody up the middle with a single at 106.1 mph.
The first-rounder is not the permanent everyday left-field answer. He still has much to learn, as shown by his incredible throw to home holding a Ranger at third but airmailing the cutoff man. It was a great throw and kept the game scoreless but the smart play in that situation was to hit the cutoff man. An experienced outfielder would have made the right throw but no harm no foul, for now.
Packaged as a strong hitter, Vaughn started his season slowly offensively. His five-game hit streak could change his momentum and bring out that first-round caliber bat the White Sox drafted.