Coming off solid season, Vaughn striving to be even better for White Sox

Drafted No. 3 overall in 2019, Andrew Vaughn joined the White Sox two years later after playing only 55 minor-league games.

Arriving with high expectations, Vaughn started to meet them last season.

“He’s just now starting to learn how to play here in the big leagues,” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said.

Grifol offered that evaluation at the end of last season. Playing his natural position — first base — after spending his first two years with the White Sox as an outfielder, Vaughn seemed to be more relaxed on defense and more comfortable at the plate.

While hitting .258/.314/.429, Vaughn tied Luis Robert Jr. for the team lead with 80 RBI and ranked third with 21 home runs. He also led the Sox in games played (152).

All in all, it was not a bad season. But given his lofty draft status, Vaughn has room to improve.

“Definitely feeling better,” he said. “The last two years, I learned a lot about myself and tried to prepare for this.”

Putting in extra work in the weight room allowed Vaughn to stay on the field last season after he missed some time with back and hand injuries in 2021-22.

“There’s something to be said about a guy who goes out there every single day and can play you 155 games,” Grifol said. “He can play through some pain, can play through some soreness and still produce at a high level.”

Grifol has no doubt Vaughn can become a hitter that produces 30 home runs and 100 RBI every season.

Vaughn is a confident player, but he’s not going to be chasing any individual numbers this year.

“If I set those goals for myself, it’s like if I’m not getting there, it’s end-all, be-all,” Vaughn said. “At the end of the day, I want to go out and do the best I can. If I get to those numbers, that’s phenomenal, but I want to strive to be the best to get to those numbers.”

Doing a better job against left-handed pitching is an obvious goal for the right-handed Vaughn. Last season, he hit .227/.270/.371 against lefties and .267/.327/.447 vs. rightys.

Defensively, Vaughn is not flashy but his .995 fielding percentage ranked fifth among American League first basemen last year.

“I like what he’s done, and I like that he hasn’t tapped into his full potential yet,” Grifol said. “There’s a lot more in the tank. I think he’s going to turn out to be a pretty good baseball player for us for a long time.”

If he continues to stay healthy, Vaughn will again be the White Sox’s everyday first baseman. When he needs a break or moves to designated hitter, Gavin Sheets is next up on the depth chart.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.