There’s a chance that Andrew Vaughn, the best hitting prospect in the MLB Draft, could be on the board when the Cincinnati Reds make their pick at No. 7.
The Cincinnati Reds own the No. 7 overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. While many outlets project the Reds to select a pitcher with the team’s first overall pick, if California first baseman Andrew Vaughn slips in the draft, Cincinnati is sure to pounce on the right-handed slugger.
As a sophomore in 2018, Andrew Vaughn won the Golden Spikes Award and was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. Last season, Vaughn hit .402 with 23 homers for the California Golden Bears. The previous year, Vaughn hit 12 home runs and was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
Though his average (.387) has dipped a bit this season, Vaughn still projects as an early first-round pick. Vaughn raised his on-base percentage (.549) this season with an increase number of walks from 2018 (44) to to 2019 (58).
So, if Andrew Vaughn is regarded as one of, if not the best, hitting prospects in this year’s MLB Draft, why would he be available to the Cincinnati Reds at No. 7? Well, Vaughn projects as a first baseman, and just a first baseman.
The ceiling is set pretty low for a first baseman, as their defense and speed are rarely tools that these types of players posses. That means that a first base prospect must posses a plus hit tool and a plus power tool. The question then becomes, are teams looking to spend a high draft pick on such a player?
The other negative that Vaughn has going against him is his size. Some scouts measure Vaughn at 6’0″ while others outlets claim he’s 5’11”. Regardless, few if any first basemen in today’s game are that short. The Cincinnati Reds’ own Joey Votto stands 6’2″.
Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs and Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals are both 6’3″. However, Jeff Bagwell was only 6’0″, so it’s not as if there haven’t been successful first basemen who’ve lacked ideal size for the position.
But, Andrew Vaughn is also right-handed. Why would this matter? Most major league teams prefer their first baseman to at least throw left-handed. This aids in a first baseman’s ability to apply a quick tag during a pickoff attempt. It’s also advantageous when trying to turn a double play since the first baseman is already facing the second base bag rather than having to turn.
While defense is important, all of this is meaningless in the grand scheme of things if this young man can rake at the major league level. By all accounts, it looks as though that’s a real possibility. If the Cincinnati Reds are looking for an eventual replacement for former MVP Joey Votto, Vaughn could be the guy.
The Cincinnati Reds elected to take a first baseman with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft when the team took Yonder Alonso out of the University of Miami. Though Alonso only played 69 games for the Reds before being shipped to San Diego, he’s carved out a nice major league career. Could Andrew Vaughn hear his name when the Reds select at No.7?