Refining game Vaughn's goal in AFL
Outfielder worked on making adjustments after missing two months
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Cory Vaughn plays the game all out, as the knee-to-ankle bruise that he wore on his right leg early in the Arizona Fall League would attest, the result of challenging the right-field fence for a long fly ball.
Vaughn is better now, and it shows. His three triples led the league through the annual Fall Stars game on Nov. 2, and he finished with a slash line of .250/.320/.375 for the Scottsdale Scorpions, where the Mets' prospects were sent this season.
"Things are going well," said Vaughn, son of 15-year Major League veteran Greg Vaughn. "I'm constantly making adjustments, having a lot of fun. Every pitcher we see has some nasty stuff, so it's seeing how they are trying to attack me, figuring out my plan of attack. Just going off what they give me. Seeing sequences and different stuff like that."
Like many in the Fall League, Vaughn had some down time between the end of the Minor League season the first week of September and the beginning of the AFL on Oct. 4, and he had a bit of a slow start.
At the same time, the Mets are glad to give him the extra work. Vaughn, 24, suffered a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow while making a throw to the plate early in the season at Double-A Binghamton that limited him to 71 games. He did not need surgery but missed about two months.
"There was a little adjustment, definitely my timing was a little off. Every day I'm getting better and better," said the 6-foot-3 and 225-pound Vaughn.
"This is the toughest sport to play in the world. There is so much failure. As much as I want to go out and square balls up every single at-bat, it's not going to happen. I'm going to strike out, I'm going to chase bad pitches. I'm going to pop balls up. But the more I can try to be consistent and stay solid with my approach, the better chance I will have for success, and that's really what I've been trying to do out here."
Although a little longer and lankier than his father, Vaughn also brings a power bat to the lineup. He had 10 home runs and 50 RBIs in 71 games at Binghamton after hitting 23 with 69 RBIs in a full season at Class A Port St. Lucie in 2012. Dad Greg had 355 Major League homers, including seasons of 41, 50 and 45 from 1996-99.
"He's one of those guys who has power," Mets roving hitting instructor Lamar Johnson said of the younger Vaughn. "Everybody has pitches they can be pitched to, but he's one of those guys if you make a mistake, he's going to make them pay. He's been doing it consistently.
"He's a lot different from his dad. His dad was a lot stronger, and Cory is a guy that runs a little bit better. He's a better defensive player, he's a real good defensive player. There are some similarities, but not a lot. He just needs to play. I like guys with power because they can change the game real quick."
Vaughn bases his game on run production, "getting on base, scoring runs, driving in runs. Hitting some tanks here and there, and just trying to cause havoc on the bases a little bit," he said.
Vaughn finished the AFL season with eight stolen bases, but he struck out 25 times in 88 at-bats while facing the the best pitching he has yet seen.
"I know a lot of people panic and trip off and say I strike out too much, but it is just the nature of the beast," Vaughn said.
"I am not a slap hitter who is going to go out there and put the ball on the ground and just try to go from base to base. I'm trying to hit some stuff in the gaps, because when I go up there, I like to think to myself that I am always dangerous. After one swing, we could have one run on the board. I try to base my game off that."
Mets hitters in the AFL
• Third baseman Aderlin Rodriguez came to the AFL to get at-bats after playing only 62 games at St. Lucie this season. He has big power, hitting 24 homers with 83 RBIs in two stops in 2012. Rodriguez had nine homers and 41 RBIs this season but finished with no homers and only three RBIs in 72 at-bats in 19 games in Arizona.
• It is always difficult to be a catcher in the AFL, because each team usually carries three, making it hard to build any kind of rhythm, especially at the plate. Cam Maron is in that boat, hitting .216 with two doubles and one RBI in 17 games.
Mets pitchers in the AFL
• Chasen Bradford, a sinker/slider right-hander, has been hard to square up in the AFL, allowing six hits and only one walk in 11 2/3 scoreless relief innings (10 appearances), going 2-0 with a save. It is an extension of what Bradford showed after a promotion last summer to Double-A Binghamton, where he was 3-1 with one save and an 0.71 ERA in 20 appearances after going 6-2, 3.71 at St. Lucie. He pitches to contact and has been able to do it effectively his last two stops.
• Right-hander Jeurys Familia, who has spent small parts of the last two seasons in the Mets' bullpen, is seeing his first extensive action in the AFL since undergoing surgery to clean out his right elbow June 5. His fastball can touch triple digits on a good night, but he has had difficulty with command here, walking four and yielding eight hits in 8 1/3 innings in eight appearances. Familia was named to the East Division roster for the Fall Stars Game on Nov. 2.
• Right-hander Hansel Robles showed well in his first five AFL starts, allowing 13 hits while striking out 15 in 15 innings while going 0-1 with a 2.40 ERA. But he struggled in his last start, allowing four runs in three innings on Monday. Featuring command of a low-90s fastball, Robles, 23, has kept the ball in the park and around the plate, giving up only one homer and walking only five after going 5-4 with a 3.72 ERA in 15 starts at St. Lucie this summer.
• Cody Satterwhite, 26, has gotten a long look in Arizona and finished with 11 appearances and he attempted to resuscitate his career after missing 2010 and '12, as well as most of '11 with shoulder injuries. A second-round pick of Detroit in 2008 with a hard sinking fastball, right-hander Satterwhite played for the independent Sioux City Explorers before signing with the Mets on July 2. He pitched well out of the bullpen in St. Lucie, going 2-2 with a 2.78 ERA in 16 games.