Victoria HarbourCats general manager Brad Norris-Jones has a big-time prediction about slugging infielder Andrew Vaughn, the West Coast League team’s latest addition.
“Vaughn is a first-round MLB draft pick in two years,” Norris-Jones. predicted. “He is one of the best college players I have seen. He has a pro baseball player’s body and a pro attitude.”
Vaughn proved he can hit as a true freshman at Cal-Berkeley. He led the NCAA Pac-12 in home runs this season with 12, tied with Bears teammate Denis Karas.
Vaughn was also conference top-10 in batting (.349), slugging percentage (.555), hits (76), RBIs (50) and total bases (121).
“The goal is to get drafted [after his junior year], but that’s just the start of the journey, and not the end goal in itself,” said Vaughn, adding the MLB is his ultimate dream.
He is in the right league — five former WCL players were selected in the first two rounds of the 2017 MLB draft this week.
Vaughn’s tenure with the HarbourCats could be impactful but fleeting. He has been invited to the U.S. collegiate national team tryout camp this month in North Carolina. The U.S. squad will play a series of games this summer against the Cuba, Japan and Chinese-Taipei U-20 teams from June 27 to July 17.
Nothing against the WCL, but you don’t have to ask where Vaughn would like to be playing this summer.
“There is nothing better than representing your country and wearing those letters [USA] across your chest,” said the native of Santa Rosa, California.
If it doesn’t happen, Vaughn is more than content to return and represent Victoria in the WCL.
“It’s a nice place,” he said, adding the HarbourCats have a reputation as a top-flight summer collegiate ball organization.
“I am an old-school player. I love to play hard every day.”
His father, Toby Vaughn, played college at Sonoma State. Now his son has taken it one step further to the big-time Div. 1 Pac-12 conference.
“My dad taught me to be myself and don’t try to be anybody else,” said Vaughn.
The touted swinger arrived in town Monday and was still getting his bearings Tuesday night in a 7-3 HarbourCats victory over the Port Angeles Lefties as Vaughn went 0-5 at the plate.
The key hit was supplied by Harry Shipley from the Purdue Boilermakers, who led Victoria with a two-run triple.
Victoria won its third consecutive game to move to 7-5 on the season while Port Angeles fell to 5-7.
The HarbourCats begin a three-game set tonight in Walla Walla, Washington, against the Sweets.