The White Sox needs to be careful with Andrew Vaughn going into 2022.
Let’s get this out of the way. Andrew Vaughn is a stud. The fact he had to learn a new position last season while simultaneously adjusting to major league pitching is a testament to his maturity as a player.
He showed flashes of what he can become as a hitter as well. The 2018 Golden Spikes winner ranked in the top six percentile in max exit velocity. He logged 15 home runs and 37 extra-base hits. Meanwhile, his average exit velocity and hard-hit percentage ranked in the upper third of the league.
But if all signs point to the White Sox relying on him to help patch the hole in right field. This is a terrible idea. Contending teams do not put unproven players in unfamiliar positions.
Vaughn worked his tail off to be a serviceable MLB outfielder. But at this point in time, he is simply not a good defender. His range is below average. His spring speed is in the first percentile, which is considered very poor according to Statcast. His outfield jump is amongst the worse in the MLB and his outs recorded above-average have him in the bottom 96th percent of the league.
There are also concerns about Vaughn’s ability to hit right-handed pitching. He batted just .221 against righties in 2021. He will surely be a key piece of this team moving forward. He can even be a valuable contributor in 2022 but if he spends the bulk of his time in the outfield he should not be trusted.