As we approach the halfway point of the season in Major League Baseball, the game’s young stars, returning favorites and breakout beasts showcase their talents in an effort to help make a playoff and World Series push for their respective teams. Not surprisingly, there is one former Bear at the forefront of this mix.
The most recent Cal alum that has made his way to MLB headlines as of late is the White Sox’s first baseman and left fielder Andrew Vaughn, who last played for the Bears as a junior back in 2019. Vaughn, 24 years old, has found his stride in his sophomore season in the majors, consistently batting second in the lineup for manager Tony La Russa and putting up numbers that rank him as a top-10 hitter in the American League this year.
In his three years at Cal, Vaughn attained many achievements that made him one of the best hitters in the Pac-12 from 2017 to 2019. In his freshman year alone, Andrew was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and a first team Freshman All-American, tied for first in home runs with 12 and started all 54 games at first base with a .996 fielding percentage, along with many more impressive accolades.
His sophomore and junior years were no different — collecting a combined 38 home runs, 2018 Golden Spikes Award, Pac-12 Player of the Year, finalist for a National Player of the Year award, racked up a blue and gold record-breaking 60 walks in a season and finished his college baseball career as one of the most highly decorated players in the history of Cal’s baseball program.
After his tenure with the Bears, Vaughn was drafted No. 3 overall in the first round, which made him the highest drafted player to ever come out of Cal baseball.
On the season, he sports a .314 BA with seven homers and an .841 OPS. Vaughn has 17 multi-hit games to this point, two of which were four-hit games. In an example of his hitting prowess, Andrew had a seven-game span from June 11 to June 18 where he dominated the competition with 15 base hits, even against an opponent like the Astros at the tail end of this streak.
When asked about Vaughn’s impact on the team, longtime White Sox fan and University of Illinois graduate Ray Legler gladly proclaimed:
“Andrew goes out there and works hard every day, takes care of his business, keeps his eye on the ball, and tries to be a great teammate,” Legler said.
Vaughn’s consistency is recognized by fans, and his production this season has kept a struggling White Sox team within striking distance of first place in the AL Central. He put up double-digit RBIs in April, May and June, recording his best month yet in June with a .340 batting average and a nearly .400 OBP. His 34 hits this month have crowned him second in all of the MLB.
In his past 15 games with the White Sox, Vaughn has 24 hits and eight RBIs to go with a .375 batting average and a .423 on-base percentage, even though the team has lost eight games in this same time frame. With the Sox starting a series against Mike Trout and his other Angels in the outfield, will Vaughn keep up his effective tendencies against the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Noah Syndergaard?
Even with all these feats under his belt, Andrew Vaughn has been brushed off in this year’s All-Star voting, only receiving a little more than 98,000 votes. This will likely snub him from his first Midsummer Classic appearance. It is a shame that this Cal baseball legend is not getting the recognition he deserves, but with his evident talent, I would not be surprised to see him at All-Star weekends in years to come.
Joshua Kamins covers softball. Contact him at [email protected].