Why White Sox are confident Andrew Vaughn is on the road to stardom

As the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Andrew Vaughn joined the White Sox with sky-high expectations.

Slowly, but surely, he's living up to them.

"I predict he'll play in an All-Star Game one day," Sox manager Pedro Grifol said.

For now, the woeful Sox only have one star player - center fielder Luis Robert Jr.

At least Vaughn is trending in the right direction.

In Thursday night's 10-2 loss to the Twins, he hit his 20th home run of the season. Heading into Saturday night's game against Minnesota, Vaughn and Robert were tied for the team RBI lead with 75.

The 25-year-old first baseman was also 20-for-60 (.333) with 4 homers and 10 RBI over his last 16 games.

All of the losses this season have weighed heavily on Vaughn, so he's not overly excited about his solid individual showing.

"If you are not winning more than you are losing, it's not a good feeling," Vaughn said. "When the season is over, you look at the stats. Look at them, address them and make some adjustments. Some times, certain things will stick out. Like 20 (home runs), that's pretty cool."

Vaughn's path to the White Sox was anything but easy.

He played in 45 minor league games in 2019 after being drafted out of Cal, where he batted .376 with 50 home runs and 163 RBI in 160 games over three collegiate seasons.

The following year, there was no minor-league baseball due to COVID-19 so Vaughn had to settle for a summer of practice games at the Sox's alternate training site in Schaumburg.

Vaughn made his way to the White Sox's roster in 2021, but he was blocked at first base by Jose Abreu and spent most of the next two seasons playing left and right fields.

This year, Vaughn is back at his natural position and he's settling in with the glove and the bat.

Vaughn is also holding up well in the second half of the season.

In 2021, he hit .210/.294/.318 with 5 home runs and 22 RBI after the all-star break. Last year, Vaughn slashed .234/.285/.381 with 7 homers and 28 RBI in the second half.

This season, he's improved to .292/.312/.455 with 8 home runs and 22 RBI. What's caused the turnaround?

"Nothing huge," Vaughn said. "Just adding stuff in the weight room and if I need to go in the training room, don't be so stubborn. Get it done. Feeling good. Definitely feeling better. The last two years, I learned a lot about myself and tried to prepare for this."

Outside of Robert, the Sox will head into the 2024 with some major question marks. They'll need Vaughn to take the next step if they hope to get turned around.

"Vaughn is going to be a really good major-league hitter," Grifol said. "I'd be shocked and surprised if he's not. There's too much drive. There's too much understanding of the strike zone. There's too good of a work ethic. Too good of that will to be great and too much talent to not turn into what he wants to be, which is one of the better right-handed hitters in the game.

"That's what I think. I see progress. Every day, I see progress and then I see him working on things and then I see him show it out there. He's got 20 homers. He's showing us hit ability from line to line. And he's just now tapping into his potential."

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