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College | Story | 2/22/2019

College Notes: Big bats in AZ

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Andrew Vaughn (Cal Athletics)

Scout Takes: Vanderbilt | Virginia | College Player Database

Players covered:
 Andrew Vaughn (California), Hunter Bishop (Arizona State), Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State), Carter Aldrete (Arizona State), Gage Workman (Arizona State), Quin Cotton (Grand Canyon), Mang (Grand Canyon).

Andrew Vaughn, California
Andrew Vaughn comes into the 2019 season atop numerous draft lists, averaging out to a consensus top-five pick with about four months to go until the draft. Vaughn is coming off an all-time great season for California as a sophomore when he took home the Golden Spikes Award after slashing .402/.531/.819 and crushing 23 home runs over the course of the season. 

Vaughn had a spectacular summer to solidify himself as the best pure hitter in this year's draft class. The righthanded slugger hit over .300 with five home runs at the Cape Cod League to take home the top spot on PG's Cape Cod League top prospects list before he departed for Team USA. Vaughn's consistency both over the first two seasons of college baseball combined with his wood bat performance in the Cape and with Team USA have frimly entrenched him near the top of the first round as far as projected draft picks. 

As a prospect, Vaughn doesn't fit the mold of a toolsed-up prospects who normally goes within the first 10 to 15 picks in the draft. Instead, he's viewed as a safer bet with a very advanced bat and limited other peripheral tools to back up the profile. At 6-foot, 214-pounds, Vaughn doesn't offer supreme athleticism or physical projection, but, alluding to the earlier point, there's no real need for projection as Vaughn fits the profile that's going to hit and move quickly once he reaches pro ball and the enormous strength on the frame is an advantage.

Watching Vaughn hit, particularly in batting practice, offers a glimpse into a very professional hitter at the dish. That term gets thrown a lot and at this point is likely a cliche, but it's the best way to describe Vaughn's approach as he drives the ball with intent to all fields. He rocks into his load with good momentum and explodes onto the ball with the lower half. He cocks the back elbow and tips the bat slightly while creating plus bat speed and natural loft and leverage through contact. 

Vaughn's raw power plays best to the pull side where it grades out as above average but the swing path and the consistency of his contact allows the power to both work to all fields and to allow the output of his power to record above his grades. Vaughn isn't going to crank out light tower shots but he's going to consistently square the ball with backspin and the sheer impact strength he possesses is going to likely produce monster numbers in the Pac-12 again this year. 

The aforementioned peripheral tools are a bit limited as he's a below average runner with hopes to be an average first baseman at the end of the day. Ultimately, those tools really don't matter too much to the overall profile as the main component of Vaughn's value is going to come from the bat along with the home run and extra-base power. For most players that would be a lot to hinge on, but all Vaughn did in the first four games of the season is hit .455 with two home runs, one of which went to the opposite field. Vaughn's bat is going to be electric throughout the college season and he is a must-watch in nearly every at-bat.

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