Cal Baseball: Andrew Vaughn May Become Cal's Highest MLB Draft Pick Ever

Cal junior Andrew Vaughn had 50 career homers.Photo by Al Sermeno - KLC Fotos

Cal star expected to be taken between third and sixth pick in today's (Monday's) draft; Horn, Lee also might be drafted

Although the major-league draft has 40 rounds and lasts three days, Cal junior Andrew Vaughn won’t have to wait long to find out which team selects him.

Vaughn, a first baseman, is expected to be taken within the first half-dozen picks and could go as high as No. 3 overall, to the Chicago White Sox. That means he will hear his name called soon after the first round begins at 4 p.m. Pacific time today (Monday).

The highest a Cal player has ever been taken in the MLB draft is No. 5, when the Seattle Mariners selected pitcher Brandon Morrow at that spot in 2006. Vaughn might surpass that.

Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman is almost certain to be the No. 1 pick, and Colleyville Heritage High School (Texas) shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. is expected to be selected second.

There is uncertainty about the order of the next three picks, with Vaughn, Vanderbilt outfielder J.J. Bleday, high school outfielder Riley Greene, and high school shortstop C.J. Abrams in the conversation.

The Chicago Tribune reported Sunday that the White Sox will take either Vaughn or Abrams with the third pick, with Abrams “slightly favored.”

A Chicago Sun-Times article of May 30 also notes Vaughn is one of several players in play for the White Sox at No. 3.

For the draft order: Click here For times and TV coverage, see below.

Vaughn did not help himself with his postseason performance, going 0-for-6 with two walks in the Bears’ two games, both losses, but his work over three college seasons will make that showing irrelevant.

He was last year’s winner of the Golden Spikes award as the nation’s best amateur baseball player, and he is one of four finalists for that award this season after hitting .381 with 15 homers and an on-base percentage of .544, which ranks third nationally.

Vaughn was walked 59 times this season as opposing pitchers often pitched around Vaughn after he hit .402 with 23 homers a year ago.

A possible deterrent on drafting Vaughn is his size. He is barely 6 feet tall, while most major-league first basemen are 6-foot-3 are taller. Vaughn also bats right-handed while many pro first basemen bat left-handed or are switch-hitters.

Those issues are noted in a Baseball America article on the top prospects, but The Athletic suggests they won’t matter.

Jim Callis of mlb.com suggests in a May 30 video that Vaughn will go somewhere between No. 3 and No. 6 in the draft, but he is not sure exactly where.

Three weeks ago, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo said in a video that Vaughn would be the No. 3 overall selection.

Back on May 3, mlb.com’s Callis had Vaughn going to the Marlins with the fourth overall selection, saying “If Vaughn makes it past Chicago, then Miami figures to grab the reigning Golden Spikes Award winner and the best all-around hitter in the Draft. If not, word is that Marlins executives want Abrams and their scouts prefer Vanderbilt outfielder J.J. Bleday.”

CBS Sports projects in its May 20 mock draft that Vaughn will be taken with the third overall pick by the White Sox, noting, “The White Sox love their college performers and there's no way Rutschman gets beyond this pick (barring a late injury). Vaughn is the next best college prospect in the draft class -- the righty hitting/righty throwing first base profile is historically awful, but Vaughn has enough bat to make it work -- and he falls into Chicago's laps in our mock draft. Strange things can happen (and often do happen) on draft day. Right now Rutschman, Witt, and Vaughn going into the top three picks is very likely.”

However, the CBS Sports mock draft released Monday morning projected Vaughn to be taken with the fifth pick by the Detroit Tigers, stating, "For weeks the Tigers have been strongly tied to outfielder Riley Greene, the best high school hitter in this draft, but Vaughn slipping would make them shift gears. Even with the platoon disadvantage and defensive limitations, getting the best pure hitter in the country with the No. 5 pick is too good to pass up. Detroit makes out like bandits in our mock draft."

SB Nation’s mock draft, posted May 29, had Vaughn going to the Miami Marlins with the fourth pick.

Here is mlb.com’s rundown of the top 11 prospects in the draft.

Here is a Pac-12 video on Vaughn:

Other Cal players who might be drafted are catcher Korey Lee, pitcher Jared Horn, infielder/outfielder Cameron Eden, outfielder Max Flower and pitchers Rogelio Reyes and Arman Sabouri.

Horn (pictured below) is an interesting case, because he did not blossom until this season as a junior. He did not pitch well in his one postseason start, which did not help, but he was 6-1 with a 1.82 ERA during the regular season.

2019 MLB Draft

What: Draft Day One: Rounds 1-2
Date: Monday, June 3, 2019
Time: 4 p.m. Pacific time
Location: MLB Network studios, Secaucus, N.J.
TV Channel: MLB Network
Live Stream: MLB.com

There are 40 rounds in the 2019 MLB Draft. Rounds 1-2 will air on MLB Network at 4 p.m. on Monday, June 3. Rounds 3-10 will stream on MLB.com, beginning at 10 a.m. Pacific time on Tuesday, June 4. Rounds 11-40 will also stream on MLB.com, beginning at 9 a.m. Pacific time p.m. on Wednesday, June 5.

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