The 2014 season has been an up-and-down season for Mets outfield prospect Cory Vaughn.
After starting the year batting below .200 in 50 games in Double-A, the organization moved the 25-year-old to Las Vegas with the hope he could rediscover his offensive game. There has never been any question that the ability is there.
In 2012, Vaughn hit 23 home runs and had 48 extra base hits playing for High-A St. Lucie. He hit 10 bombs and had a .346 OBP last season in Binghamton. After a hot start following his call-up to the 51s the results have been mixed.
I spoke to Cory at the beginning of July and asked him about his season so far and expectations for the future…
Robert Brender: You’ve turned your season around offensively in Las Vegas after a rough start in Binghamton. What’s made the biggest difference in your improvement?
Cory Vaughn: Really, just sticking with it. Going out there and continuing to work hard and work smart and just not panicking. It’s having a solid work foundation and getting in the cage with George Greer, our hitting coach, and talking with Wally and just going out there and leaving it all out on the field and good things are starting to happen.
Brender: With the PCL being an offensive league and the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark on popups, how difficult is it for you not to change your approach and try to hit home runs?
Vaughn: You really just have to go out there and stick with your solid approach and just try to hit hard line drives because home runs are mistakes. Stay with whatever your approach is. Like mine, just try to go out there and hit the ball as hard as I can, nice line drives wherever the ball is pitched. Don’t try to pre-determine where I’m going to hit it and things will take care of themselves.
Brender: Have you noticed that pitchers attack you differently in AAA?
Vaughn: They nibble a little bit more on the corners here and there. They don’t throw as many cookies but you still get balls that you can drive and put a pretty good swing on. They’re just a little smarter in what they’re trying to do and how they’re trying to attack you. They’re better with throwing their fastballs a little bit off the plate where you think you can barrel it up and all of a sudden you look and it’s on the corner. Especially early in the count you want to look for something you can drive, so they try and get you off your plan but you just need to stick with it and stay solid and things will be alright.
Brender: You’re one step away from the big leagues. What’s the plan for you as you attempt to make that jump?
Vaughn: Of course everyone wants to get to the big leagues as soon as possible but you can’t let that effect you. You just have to go out there, continue to work hard and just stay with your game plan. It’s bound to happen sometime. Just have to go out there, be comfortable, be relaxed, have fun and when it’s your time it’s going to be your time. I have to go out there and continue to work hard, learn from my teammates and the coaches. Take bits and pieces of what they talk about and use it to my game and see what happens.
Brender: How much has the extreme heat in Las Vegas effected your preparation?
Vaughn: You just have to hydrate a lot. We have signs everywhere in the clubhouse ‘make sure you drink two waters before BP, two waters after BP.’ Get your supplements in, your Pedialyte. I’ll take hot over cold any day.