Updated 6/3/19: This article has been updated with quotes from Andrew Vaughn following a conference call with Bay Area media members.
It was only appropriate that Andrew Vaughn broke one last record before his time in Berkeley officially came to an end.
Vaughn was selected by the Chicago White Sox with the third pick in the 2019 MLB draft, becoming the highest-selected player in Cal baseball history.
“An unbelievable feeling, honestly,” Vaughn said. “I’m just blown away by it.”
The first baseman eclipses former Cal standout Brandon Morrow, who was selected fifth overall by the Seattle Mariners in 2006.
Vaughn departs from the Bay Area as one of the most accomplished hitters in program history, with a laundry list of accolades on his resume.
In his three seasons at Cal, Vaughn racked up three All-Pac-12 selections and totaled a career slash line (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) of .376/.497/.691. Vaughn’s 50 career home runs are tied for the second most in program history.
Vaughn didn’t just pile up the stats, but the hardware as well. The first baseman won Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2017, and he followed it up in 2018 by snagging both Pac-12 Player of the Year and the Golden Spikes Award.
During his historic 2018 campaign, Vaughn slashed .402/.531/.819 with 23 home runs, tying Xavier Nady’s program record for most home runs in a single season.
Vaughn had a “down” year in 2019, hitting .381/.544/.716 with 15 home runs, but that was mostly due to opposing pitchers throwing around him. The first baseman drew 59 walks, 23 of which were intentional, breaking the program record for most walks in a single season.
“It’s kind of an emotional moment just knowing I won’t play there again,” Vaughn said. “It was a great place and I hope I left a good mark on it.”
Shortly after Vaughn was drafted, MLB Network analyst Eric Byrnes noted that Vaughn was “the best college hitter I’ve seen in all my years of broadcasting” and that he could be in the majors right now.
“He played in the big leagues for a long time and he’s talked to a lot of big leaguers,” Vaughn said. “I mean, if he thinks that, it’s very humbling. An unbelievable honor to be told that.”
Standing at six-feet flat, Vaughn is relatively undersized as far as traditional first basemen go. Vaughn almost exclusively played first base during his Cal career, but worked out for several teams at third base and noted his biggest goal is to be in the lineup.
“Where they put me, I will play,” Vaughn said. “If they want me to play in left, right. I don’t know if they’ll put me in center. I can play first, I think I can play third. We’re just going to have to see how it works out.”
With Vaughn heading to the pros, Cal will lose the biggest cog of its hitting core. In addition, Korey Lee, Jared Horn and Cameron Eden, among others, could be drafted as well. While next year’s core may look considerably different, Vaughn has confidence in the program moving forward.
“Cal’s going to be great next year,” Vaughn said. ” I’m very excited to see how they progress from this. Some guys will stay behind and be very good and hopefully some guys get to move onto the draft here shortly. It should be very exciting.”
The first baseman is currently a finalist for the 2019 Golden Spikes Award as well. Should he win, he’ll be the first repeat winner in the award’s history.