Back in 2010, I was living in Brooklyn and exploring the historic landscape that is baseball in the Ol’ City of Churches. Add to that, Wallyball had entered The Revival, and the 2010 Brooklyn Cyclones used excellent pitching, hitting and aggressiveness on the basepaths to dominate the regular season with a 51-24 record. They pulled off a miracle, 12th inning win to force the final game of the 1st playoff (which I witnessed from behind home plate), before ultimately falling in the championship round. One of my favorite players was Cory Vaughn, sone of Greg Vaughn, drafted in the 4th round by the New York Mets.
Only weeks after being coached by Tony Gwynn at San Diego State University, Vaughn was playing in the preview of The Show. If there’s any Minor League town that is going to show a young player what it’s like to play in the Big Leagues, that’ll be Brooklyn, a City starved of it’s own brand of baseball for almost 50 years. The fans root for this team as if it’s the only League in the land. Brooklyn is a great place to teach young players how to play as a team amidst the buzz of the Beachside Palace, as most are recently drafted, and none of them will be promoted (sometimes demoted.) Wally truly brought this team together, and Cory was a core piece. He batted .307, with a .396 OBP, 14 HR and 56 RBI in 313 AB. He scored 45 times, stole 12 bases and slugged .557, though he did have a 20.1% Strikeout rate. I had been excited for Vaughn after he got drafted based on his background, and I was thoroughly entertained the entire summer. Cory Vaughn, Wally Backman and the Cyclones of 2010 brought amazing Brooklyn Baseball memories to every fan that witnessed them.
Things, unfortunately, have not quite panned out for the 2nd generation ballplayer. After beginning his full-season career on a good note in 2011 Low-A Savannah (.282 AVG, .402 OBP, .404 SLG, 12.1BB%), the bottom fell out for him once he was promoted to High-A St. Lucie. He batted a putrid .219, with a .308 OBP, slugging a very unVaughn-like .395. In roughly 200 ABs, he hit 9 HR with 29 RBI.
Today, he is still working through things down on the Port Saint Lucie Farm. His AVG has improved, but only slightly at .240. He is also striking out at an alarming rate, with 107 strikeouts in 115 games. He’s walking a bit more with a 12.2% rate and a .351 OBP, improved from his awful 9.5% and the .308 of yesteryear. He is producing runs, with 21 HR and 62 RBI in 420 AB. Still, according to Metsminorleagueblog.com, “Scouts remain concerned that his complicated swing will prevent him from making consistent enough contact to hit for enough average.”
If the Mets don’t see improvement over the last bit of the Minor League season, I could see there being a possibility the 23-year-old starts next season back in High-A, hoping he could have gone through a transformation in the off-season and force them to promote him to AA.
The truth is he’s profiling a lot like his father, who hit .242 with 355 HR and 1072 RBI. He got On Base at a .337 clip while slugging .470 in 7070 Plate Appearances spanning a 15-year career. He struck out 1,513 times.
The Mets don’t have one sure-fire everyday outfielder in the high areas of the farm. If Cory Vaughn could somehow get it together, he’d fill a huge hole for the outfielder-starved Mets quite possibly by 2014.
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