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Sox pick first baseman, RHP on Day 1 of Draft

No. 3 overall pick Vaughn 'pretty special offensive player'
@scottmerkin
June 3, 2019

CHICAGO -- Andrew Vaughn was asked to describe himself during a Monday night conference call with media members after being selected No. 3 overall by the White Sox in the first round of the 2019 Draft. “I love to hit. That’s my thing,” said the University of California first baseman,

CHICAGO -- Andrew Vaughn was asked to describe himself during a Monday night conference call with media members after being selected No. 3 overall by the White Sox in the first round of the 2019 Draft.

“I love to hit. That’s my thing,” said the University of California first baseman, who should soon be part of the White Sox highly touted Minor League system. “I love to come out to the ballyard every day and take on the best pitchers possible.”

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That piece of analysis certainly aligns with Chicago’s main reason for choosing Vaughn.

Director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler has maintained all along that the White Sox were looking for the best player available at this lofty spot and would not worry about position. They were going to line their preferences up and go from there.

After catcher Adley Rutschman was taken No. 1 by the Orioles and shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. went to the Royals at No. 2, Vaughn and his exceptional offensive approach were next in line for the South Siders.

“You are looking at one of the most prestigious hitters in the history of college baseball,” said Hostetler of Vaughn. “He won the Golden Spikes [Award] as a sophomore over the likes of [Auburn right-hander] Casey Mize, who pretty much struck out everyone who walked to the plate in the SEC and went 1-1 [to the Tigers] last year.

“It’s power, it’s hitability, it’s pitch recognition, it’s patience. It’s impact. It’s middle of the order. He’ll be a pretty special offensive player.”

There were rumblings a few weeks back the White Sox might go with a high school selection at No. 3. But the White Sox have gone the collegiate route every year with their top pick since 2012, when they selected outfielder Courtney Hawkins from Mary Carroll High School in Corpus Christi, Texas. Hawkins is no longer with the organization.

The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage beginning at noon CT. Go to MLB.com/Draft for complete coverage, including every pick on Draft Tracker, coverage and analysis from MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft and @MLBDraftTracker on Twitter.

Vaughn, 21, hits and throws right-handed. There could be some attractiveness in getting him a look at third base as well as the outfield, but Hostetler stressed not messing up his bat and just letting him go out and hit [in the Minor Leagues].

10 things to know about Andrew Vaughn

During his junior season for Cal, Vaughn batted .381 with 14 doubles, 15 home runs, 50 RBIs, 49 runs scored, 59 walks, a .544 on-base percentage, a .716 slugging percentage and a 1.260 OPS in 52 games for No. 24 California. Vaughn finished the regular season ranked among Division I leaders in on-base percentage (third, .549), walks (tied for eighth, 58) and slugging percentage (14th, .728), leading a team without any seniors on the roster.

“I’m not a huge talkative guy,” Vaughn said. “I just had to show up every day and be myself. Help the younger guys out. Just be present, be consistent. Just kind of let my actions speak for themselves on the field. I just love to play. I play the game hard. And I hope what I do wears off on the people next to me. I hope I can build people up and make our competition that much better.”

This third pick overall has a slot value of $7,221,200. The White Sox total bonus pool checks in at $11,565,500.

When asked about a Major League player he admires, Vaughn pointed to Boston’s Dustin Pedroia because he once was a skinny second baseman who didn’t run that well. But he enjoyed how Pedroia swung hard every time he stepped to the plate and played the game right.

Vaughn also singled out San Francisco’s Buster Posey, not just for the professional way he goes about his business but how he gives back to the community. That sort of overall attitude by Vaughn came through when he met with the White Sox, and the team appreciated that quality in addition to his impressive hitting skills.

A 6-foot, 215 pounds, Vaughn might be looked at as a little undersized for first base. But Hostetler pointed to his elite exit velocity with the aluminum bat in college and the wooden bat in the Cape Cod League as part of the projection for his power at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“I’d say I'm pretty old school,” Vaughn said. “I really like to go out and just see ball, hit ball and hit it as hard as I can without trying to do too much.

“Launch angle's there, it exists. You have to hit it at a certain launch angle to hit a home run, double, with this exit velo and whatnot. But I truly don't like to think about that stuff. I like to just go out and just swing it.”

In the second round, the White Sox selected right-handed pitcher Matthew Thompson, a Texas A&M commit out of Cypress Ranch High School in Texas, with the 45th overall pick. Thompson has an ultra-quick arm and an athletic delivery that produces low-90s fastballs with a maximum velocity of 96 mph when he's at his best. He has also worked at 89-90 at times this year, per MLB Pipeline’s scouting report. His slot value is $1.65 million.

“We are very excited to add a young power arm like Matthew Thompson,” said Hostetler via text. “He possesses a power fastball and curveball that we have felt very strongly about since last summer.”

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.