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Grading the White Sox: Andrew Vaughn

D Roughly and Carry a Big Stick

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins
Andrew Vaughn’s bat does not appear to be the issue.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

At midseason, the SSS staff graded the 46-46 White Sox, from the head of the class Dylan Cease down to Dallas Keuchel. We invented a WARsss metric that could very well be just a cute way to trot out our special site grades — but really for all you know could be the product of years of research in a stats lab.

Our expanded report card will take us through everyone who saw time in uniform for the White Sox, plus some front-office types. Most of our writers will take on a couple of players, with final grades and short writeups, running through the end of November. Enjoy!


Andrew Vaughn
First Baseman Playing Left Field
Midseason: 3.2 WARsss
Final: 4.25 WARsss

Andrew Vaughn, through no fault of his own, finished below replacement value in 2022, an impressive feat for someone who produced 13% better than league average offensively. An average full-time position player can expect to finish with an fWAR around 2.0, so Vaughn’s -0.4 mark was dragged down by one of the worst seasons in history in the outfield — a position Vaughn clearly was not, is not, and never will be cut out for. Vaughn’s mark of -20 OAA was worst in the sport, which is even more pitiful considering Vaughn had 500 fewer innings in the outfield than either Juan Soto (-16) or Kyle Schwarber (-13), who were next in the line for 2022 outfield futility. An offseason priority for the White Sox clearly needs to be figuring out a way to make sure Vaughn never plays on the grass again.

Offensively, Vaughn started hot and faded late, similar to his rookie season in 2021. His peak was more productive and his fade wasn’t as pronounced as a year ago, so his final numbers remained respectable for a second-year player who skipped multiple levels of minor league ball. However, some disturbing trends remained, most notably a 5.6% walk rate (17th percentile), a 35.5% chase rate (24th percentile), and a 48% ground ball rate (82nd percentile). To me, these are all indicators of not seeing the ball early and not being on time often enough. Not seeing the ball early enough leads to chasing balls, whereas spitting on these would obviously lead to more walks. Not being on time and getting beat to the spot leads to ground balls, whereas contact out in front of the plate leads to natural loft. Vaughn seemed to chase eye-high fastballs as often as anyone I’ve seen, and followed the lead of the rest of the Sox chasing too many sliders low and away.

Throughout his college and minor league career, Vaughn was seen as having one of the most polished approaches in his class, so getting to work with a new hitting coach may be beneficial for him to get back to a selective approach. Vaughn has a sweet swing but has always had a rather large hand load, which he has worked on quieting down to stay more compact: The fewer moving parts, the easier it is to be on time.

Since Vaughn skipped so much minor league time, I still consider him to be relatively young in his adjustment process to big-league pitching. The more comfortable he gets, the more the batter-pitcher confrontation should slow down for him, allowing his natural feel for hitting to shine through. He may never be a 30-home run player, but a perennial 125-130 wRC+ fueled by an high average and doubles is a likely outcome. A comp I have always been reminded of with Vaughn is Billy Butler, a very solid pure hitter and doubles machine who always seemed to be a White Sox killer.

Another minor note: Vaughn posted a -3 OAA and -3 DRS in limited innings at first base in 2022. His small wingspan could pop up as an issue, given a pattern of wild throws from the left side of the White Sox infield, something José Abreu did an exceptional job of smoothing over.


2022 White Sox Grades

Andrew Vaughn, “LF,” 4.25
Davis Martin, RHSP, 4.1
Seby Zavala, C, 4.0
Luis Robert, CF, 3.7
Lance Lynn, RHSP, 3.5
Miguel Cairo, Bench Coach/MGR, 3.48
Tim Anderson, SS, 3.43
Kendall Graveman, RHRP, 3.1
Josh Harrison, 2B, 3.0
Gavin Sheets, RF-1B, 2.5
Jake Burger, 3B, 2.2
Romy González, IF, 2.0
Aaron Bummer, LHRP, 1.8
AJ Pollock, OF, 1.3
Matt Foster, RHRP, 1.2
Yoán Moncada, 3B, 0.92
Lenyn Sosa, SS, 0.85
José Ruiz, RHRP, 0.83
Mark Payton, OF, 0.6
Carlos Pérez, C, 0.399
Lucas Giolito, RHSP, 0.392
Adam Engel, OF, 0.237
Vince Velasquez, RHP, -0.4
Reese McGuire, C, -1.1
Kyle Crick, RHRP, -1.65
Joe Kelly, RHRP, -1.75
Daryl Boston, 1B Coach, -2.0
Anderson Severino, LHRP, -2.2
Jerry Reinsdorf, OWN, -2.321
Jake Diekman, LHRP, -2.366
Rick Hahn, GM, -2.401
Bennett Sousa, LHRP, -2.425
Frank Menechino, BAT COACH, -2.469
Yasmani Grandal, C/DH, -2.549
Leury García, UTIL, -2.7
Adam Haseley, OF, -3.146
Joe McEwing, 3B Coach, -3.167
Ryan Burr, RHRP, -3.4
Tony La Russa, MGR, -3.5
Dallas Keuchel, LHSP, -3.9

Poll

Andrew Vaughn is a tricky read. We seem bullish on him. How’s our grade?

  • 36%
    Too harsh, he should never have played a single outfield inning in 2022.
    (25 votes)
  • 23%
    Too easy, he’s a No. 3 overall pick and I’m not very impressed.
    (16 votes)
  • 40%
    Good grade, I like what you did here and this Lines guy should write some more.
    (28 votes)
69 votes total Vote Now