He should stay The former No. 3 overall pick was the prize draft pick of the rebuild, billed as a superlative hitter who would develop into an impact bat. In 2022, Vaughn lowered his strikeout rate from 2021 and became the team’s third-best hitter after Eloy Jiménez and José Abreu. With Abreu looking unlikely to return, Vaughn will be able to return to his natural position at 1B/DH and continue his development free of the burden of playing the outfield, which he is clearly unsuited for. With his age-25 season looming, the best should be yet to come.
He should go Vaughn has improved to being an above-average offensive presence, but he has yet to show himself to be anything special, particularly for a first baseman. An OPS+ of 111 is mediocre for a defensively-limited player, and if Rick Hahn again constructs the roster as if Vaughn is an outfielder (which, holy shit, he isn’t), it again risks negative overall production. Though playing out of position may be to blame, Vaughn has faded badly late in the season two years in a row. The team needs more home run power, and despite a fairly healthy season and leading the team in the category, 17 homers just isn’t gonna cut the mustard next year.
The verdict Hahn’s continued incompetence in roster construction forced him to not only promote Vaughn far too quickly, but to press him into service in a position that hurt himself and the team. Two years in, Vaughn has been an overall mediocre-to-awful player by WAR stats, and while he still has much of the promise he had as a prospect, his value has been hurt. The team has a lot of problems to solve, but it’s unlikely that trading Vaughn will go a long way towards solving them, because the White Sox would be putting him on the market as damaged goods. Their best bet is to let Vaughn take over as heir apparent to Abreu and hope he develops into the offensive force he was expected to be, and leave the outfield to actual outfielders — assuming Hahn can ever figure out what one looks like.