Falling asleep Sunday night wasn’t easy. But all season, Andrew Vaughn kept this occasion on the back burner.
“I think I did pretty well, just going out there and playing,” Cal’s junior first baseman said.
When he woke up Monday morning, Vaughn said it felt a little like Christmas.
But the real celebration wouldn’t begin until shortly after 4 p.m., so to kill time he went for a hike with his girlfriend, and to lunch.
Then Vaughn gathered with family and friends, including a couple he’s known since his Little League days, at his parents’ home in Santa Rosa for the big moment. “All the people I care about,” he said.
Vaughn didn’t have to much longer. He was selected No. 3 overall by the Chicago White Sox in the Major League Baseball draft.
“Very indescribable, to be honest,” he told reporters on a teleconference two hours later. “It’s every thing I’ve worked for. The whole thing just came true right there.”
Just two days after Vaughn and the Golden Bears were disappointed by being ousted from the NCAA tournament, he became the highest draft selection in Cal history.
The highest a Cal player was previously taken was No. 5, when the Seattle Mariners selected pitcher Brandon Morrow at that spot in 2006.
Vaughn said he loved his three seasons at Berkeley. “It’s kind of an emotional moment,” he said, “knowing I probably won’t play there again.”
The 2018 Golden Spikes Award winner as the nation’s top amateur player, Vaughn was widely projected to be taken anywhere from No. 3 to No. 6.
A 6-foot, 215-pound right-handed hitter, Vaughn will earn approximately $7.22 million for his first contract by going at No. 3.
Many draft experts considered Vaughn, 21, to be the most complete hitter in this year’s draft.
Former A’s player Eric Byrnes, an analyst for the MLB Network, told the TV audience he believes Vaughn could hit major league pitching right now.
“I would love to. He played in a big leagues a long time and saw a of lot big leaguers. It’s very humbling,” Vaughn said of the compliment.
White Sox executives phoned Vaughn to welcome and congratulate him, but Vaughn said he doesn’t yet have details on where and when he will report to the minor leagues.
He said he has made about five airport layovers in Chicago, but has never visited the city. “I’m excited to be going there,” he said.
Vaughn batted .381 with 15 home runs and a .544 on-base average this season after hitting .402 with 23 home runs a year ago. For his Cal career, the junior had a .376 batting average with 50 home runs and 163 RBI, with 122 walks and just 75 strikeouts.
“We are thrilled to add a player of Andrew’s caliber to the organization,” White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hosteler told the Chicago Sun Times. “He’s a premium bat who has shown the ability to hit at every level. Andrew is considered one of the top offensive talents in this season’s draft, and we can’t wait to see him grow at the professional level.”
Although he was exclusively a first baseman at Cal, Vaughn reportedly worked out at third base for scouts. “My biggest goal is to be in the lineup,” he said. “Wherever they put me, I will play.”
At No. 3, Vaughn is the highest first baseman chosen in the draft since 2008.
As expected, Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman was the No. 1 pick by the Baltimore Orioles. The Pac-12 Player of the Year batted .411 this spring with 17 home runs, 58 RBI, an NCAA-leading .575 on-base percentage, a .751 slugging percentage and a school-record 76 walks.
Also no surprise was the selection of Bobby Witt Jr., son of former MLB pitcher Bobby Witt, at No. 2 to the Kansas City Royals. The younger Witt is a shortstop from Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas.
There was less consensus about the picks after the first two, partly became some draft experts questioned Vaughn’s size.
The 6-foot, 215-pounder said that only provides him with added motivation. “It puts a little chip on your shoulder. If I swing the bat as I know, good things can happen.”