New York Mets: Greg Vaughn

Morning Briefing: Trade brewing?

February, 21, 2014
Mets prospect Steven Matz (above) displays a non-pitching talent.


FIRST PITCH: One more day of exclusively pitchers-and-catchers workouts. Then the full squad has its first official workout Saturday.

Friday’s news reports:

• Four months after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Matt Harvey has been cleared to begin tossing a baseball. The Mets, trying to prevent Harvey form being a spring-training storyline, would not allow the rehabbing ace to speak with other media after he gave an interview to about being cleared, writes Kristie Ackert in the Daily News. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and

• The Mets may be able to upgrade at shortstop before Opening Day by trading for Seattle’s Nick Franklin, industry insiders tell Franklin became expendable with Robinson Cano having signed with the Mariners to play second base and with fellow 2013 rookie Brad Miller a capable shortstop.

Meanwhile, the Mets are not pursuing Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz, a source told

• If Ruben Tejada remains the starter, perhaps New Jersey native and switch-hitter Anthony Seratelli could sneak onto the roster as a backup infielder. He also has corner-outfield experience. Writes Ken Davidoff in the Post:

The Old Bridge High School baseball team cut Anthony Seratelli as a freshman. Seton Hall welcomed him aboard only after he walked on to the program. No Major League Baseball team drafted him. Seratelli will turn 31 on Feb. 27, and he has yet to play in a big-league game.

“I’ve been beaten down,” the utility man said, laughing, Thursday at Tradition Field. “I just keep trying to get there.”

• Citi Field is expected to host a soccer match between AC Milan and Olympiakos on July 24, while the Mets are on the road.

Bobby Parnell is proceeding slowly while returning from herniated-disk surgery. Originally listed to throw a bullpen session Thursday, he decided to wait an extra day.

• Thursday was the report date for Mets position players. Omar Quintanilla arrived at the complex in the mid-afternoon, after the position players’ voluntary workout had ended. The only other player yet to be seen at camp is Wilfredo Tovar, who was due to land in Florida sometime Thursday, according to a team official.

• Marc Carig in Newsday asks if Juan Lagares will hit enough to find his way into the lineup. The bottom line: If Terry Collins proceeds with his preference of Eric Young Jr. as the leadoff hitter, it would seem Lagares is the odd-man out, unless a trade or injury opens a spot. Writes Carig:

According to Wins Above Replacement, the statistic that measures a player’s total contributions, the Mets saved more runs last season with Lagares’ elite glove (plus-24.4 above average) than they lost with his faulty bat (minus-12.0). In 2014, he’s again projected to be worth the tradeoff. Except the Mets have balked at penciling in Lagares, whose defensive contributions may be difficult to quantify.

Jared Diamond in the Journal is not fond of getting Young playing time at Lagares’ expense. Writes Diamond:

Young led the National League with 46 stolen bases in 2013, an achievement that makes him a useful cog on any roster. In the past, that statistic alone would have made him an acceptable fit for the leadoff spot, where he could use his legs to create early runs.

Nowadays, however, teams look for skills other than raw speed in a leadoff hitter, understanding that in order for a fast runner to steal second, he needs to be on first. Despite Collins' old-fashioned idea of the prototypical leadoff man, the Mets' front office seems to grasp this, basing its offensive philosophy on pitch selection. When asked to identify the key skill for a leadoff hitter, Young responded, “Ultimately, getting on base.”

But Young doesn’t do that nearly enough.

• Collins says Jeurys Familia has closer-quality pitches. Read more in the Post, Daily News and Star-Ledger.

• Collins and other Mets staffers planned to attend a session led by MLB’s Joe Torre and Tony La Russa on Thursday afternoon explaining the implementation of a home-plate collision ban and the expanded use of instant replay.

• Tim Rohan in the Times and Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger profile Cory Vaughn, the diabetic outfield prospect and son of former major leaguer Greg Vaughn. The 24-year-old Vaughn hit .267 with 10 homers and 50 RBIs in 262 at-bats with Double-A Binghamton last season while missing substantial time with a right elbow strain that did not require surgery. He played college baseball alongside Stephen Strasburg at San Diego State, for coach Tony Gwynn.

• Anthony DiComo at profiles Jeff Walters, who had a Binghamton-record 38 saves last season.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear ponders promises made, promises kept and how much promise lies within newly acquired Mets. … At Mets Police, Mike V makes the case against lower case d’s on Mets uniforms. … John Delcos at Mets Report writes that strikeouts are an issue for the club.

BIRTHDAYS: The late Joe Foy, who played for the Mets 44 years ago, and who attended Evander Childs High School in the Bronx, was born on this date in 1943.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets acquire a Mariners shortstop or go with Ruben Tejada?

Morning Briefing: Moneyball players?

May, 23, 2013
FIRST PITCH: Forget Ike Davis’ struggles for a second. Forget even the payroll constraints, which is asking a lot to look past.

Here’s one question that rarely gets asked: Where are the Moneyball players with the Mets?

And by that I mean: Why have there not been more productive free agents signed to those $2 million to $4 million contracts? Or how about some low-cost acquisitions via other routes that provide placeholders until a prospect is ready to assume the role?

Yes, departed Scott Hairston, Chris Capuano and Chris Young -- plus Scott Rice -- are a few examples of getting production beyond salary in their tenures with the Mets.

But there have been far more misses: Chin-lung Hu, Brad Emaus and Blaine Boyer in Year 1 of the current administration, all the way through to Collin Cowgill, Shaun Marcum and Scott Atchison (at least so far) this year.

It sure would be nice to have a few more Lyle Overbay types.

Finding those hidden gems was supposed to be a Mets front-office strength because of the executives’ small-market pedigrees.

So if you’re looking for reasons why the Mets today sit at 10 games under .500 this early in a season for the first time since 2001, blame the lack of spending. Blame the deliberate pace of building from within. But also blame the lack of identification of placeholders who can contribute at reasonable costs in the interim.

Anyway, the Mets are off today. Then there’s the Atlanta Braves looming this weekend, with Jeremy Hefner (0-5, 5.00 ERA) opposing right-hander Kris Medlen (1-5, 3.02) in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. opener.

It’s still five days until Matt Harvey next pitches -- Tuesday against Hiroki Kuroda and the Yankees in Flushing in Game 2 of the Subway Series. The Mets are expected to miss CC Sabathia during the four-game set, which is split between Citi Field and the Bronx.

Thursday’s news reports:

Al Bello/Getty Images
Ike Davis is expected to remain with the Mets on Friday.

• Davis is expected to remain with the Mets on Friday, but his days in the majors may be few beyond that without a serious uptick in performance. A scout breaks down Davis’ flaws for here.

Anthony McCarron in the Daily News asserts Triple-A Las Vegas is the only sensible option. Writes McCarron:

Save Ike Davis, Mets brass. Send him down to Triple-A already.

Not because he’s batting .147 and not because he’s 1-for-his-last-38. Not because a guy who is supposed to be driving in runs has all of nine RBI this season. Not because he screwed up in the field Wednesday and appears to be taking his slump out to first base along with his mitt.

No, demote Davis to get him away from the microscope that is now following every hitch in his swing, every step of his latest disappointed shuffle back to the dugout following another lost at-bat. Take the pressure off him for a few weeks and give him some time to recharge in the heat of Las Vegas.

Writes Tyler Kepner in the Times:

It is little consolation to most Mets fans that Davis is well liked and accountable. Jason Bay was the same way. Production always matters most, but for now, character may be all that is sparing Davis from a demotion.

“It’s not like my teammates are going to tell Sandy not to send me down,” Davis said, referring to general manager Sandy Alderson. “It’s just, if I was a bad teammate, a cancer in the clubhouse, it would be a lot easier. If I was selfish, and every time I got out I brought people down with a bad attitude and stuff like that, then I’m really affecting the team. I try not to let my struggles affect anyone else and, in fact, show more support than if I was going good.”

Read more from columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post.

• Harvey was charged with four runs on a career-high nine hits in 6 1/3 innings but was spared his first 2013 loss when Rick Ankiel drove in the tying run with his third extra base hit of the game. Still, the Mets were swept Wednesday with a 7-4 loss to Cincinnati. The loss dropped them 10 games under .500 for the first time this season. Davis had a critical misplay at first base in the ninth, allowing Brandon Phillips’ grounder down the line to go by him for a tiebreaking double.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal, Times and

• Read more on Harvey’s outing in Newsday, the Daily News, Star-Ledger and

• After receiving a cortisone injection in his right shoulder and missing one start, Zack Wheeler returned to action Wednesday. He allowed a pair of solo homers and was charged with three runs in five innings, but earned the win in Las Vegas’ 9-4 victory at Iowa. Noah Syndergaard, facing his former organization, was tagged with the loss as Dunedin beat St. Lucie, 5-3. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Read a profile of Double-A outfielder Cory Vaughn, son of former major leaguer Greg Vaughn and the reigning Eastern League Player of the Week, here.

• The Mets’ attempt to have a run surrendered in Chicago by Harvey changed from earned to unearned was rejected by MLB.

• Cody Derespina in Newsday compares the Mets and Yankees lineups.

• One holdup to the construction of a stadium at Flushing Meadows Corona Park to house Major League Soccer’s New York expansion team (which will be partly owned by the Yankees) is how much parking revenue the Mets would get at nearby Citi Field, the Times reports.

• After producing two doubles, a triple and two RBIs Wednesday, Ankiel is hitting .323 since joining the Mets, note Anthony DiComo and Chris Iseman at

• Harlem plans to rename a street in Willie Mays’ honor. The question: Which one? Read more in the Daily News.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing wonders if Ike has gone numb, and remembers a spectacular run of pitching by Dwight Gooden. … John Delcos at Mets Report writes that Harvey only reveals what little else the Mets have.

BIRTHDAYS: Infielder Ricky Gutierrez, who was acquired from the Cleveland Indians late in spring training in 2004 and released two months later, turns 43.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Has the front office done a good enough job identifying low-priced talent for the major league team as placeholders for developing prospects?

Farm report: '09 top pick Matz gets on track

April, 24, 2013
Although he was drafted with the Mets’ top pick in 2009 out of Ward Melville High School on Long Island, left-hander Steven Matz entered this season having made only six professional appearances.

After a long road back from May 18, 2010 Tommy John surgery, Matz now appears clicking on all cylinders.

Courtesy of New York Mets
Steven Matz

With his family in attendance, Matz flashed a fastball that sat between 92-95 mph Friday while he tossed five scoreless innings for low-A Savannah at Lakewood, N.J. Still only 21 years old, the former second-round pick is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA through three starts with the Gnats. He has allowed 14 hits and four walks while striking out 18 in 14 innings.

Most importantly, Savannah pitching coach/fellow Long Island product Frank Viola noted, Matz has now thrown 81 pitches in each of his last two outings and is growing confident injury woes are behind him.

“It’s so important to know you can do it,” Viola said.

Said Savannah manager Luis Rojas: “He’s a smart kid, and he’s blessed. He still has a great arm. His fastball has got a late hop, and it’s really heavy. His breaking pitch, he’s really discovering now. He’s changing from a curveball to a slider. And he actually has a good feel for it.”

Matz believes the slider is more conducive to his natural arm slot.

“His fastball had a lot of movement, and he obviously was throwing pretty hard,” said Kevin Plawecki, who caught Matz’s most recent outing. “I think he’s still kind of in that phase where he’s getting a feel for his pitches again. That was a good step in the right direction. He’s got a good, live arm. It does jump at you a little bit, especially from the left side. I think it gives hitters a little bit of a struggle.”

Nine months after being drafted, Matz required Tommy John surgery. Early in 2011, he resumed throwing off a mound. He had logged six innings in extended spring training and seemed on track for official minor league games. By that July, however, Matz had been sent back home to Long Island.

Matz's 2011 return had been halted after micro-sized muscle tears in the left elbow area were discovered.

He finally made it to Kingsport last summer, and closed that season with three straight scoreless starts before having to be prematurely shut down with rotator-cuff tendinitis.

Now, though, those issues appear behind him.

“Everyone here is pretty much my age, so I don’t feel like I’m too far behind,” Matz said about his Savannah teammates. “Luckily I was young when I signed.”

Matz still spends the offseason on Long Island, although he no longer is in his native Stony Brook. He commutes from Yaphank three times a week to work out with the group in Garden City that includes Jose Reyes and Mets minor league catcher Cam Maron.

Organization leaders

Average: Brandon Nimmo, Savannah, .414; Jayce Boyd, Savannah, .394; Kevin Plawecki, Savannah, .379; Juan Lagares, Vegas, .346; Josh Satin, Vegas, .344; Andrew Brown, Vegas, .343; Jamie Hoffmann, Vegas, .306; Brian Bixler, Vegas, .298; T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, .293; Cory Vaughn, Binghamton, .292.

Homers: Josh Satin, Vegas, 4.

RBI: T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, 19; Jayce Boyd, Savannah, 18; Kevin Plawecki, Savannah, 17; Andrew Brown, Vegas, 15; Cory Vaughn, Binghamton, 14.

Steals: Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 8; Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 6; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 5; Brian Bixler, Vegas, 4; Stefan Sabol, Savannah, 4.

ERA: Luis Cessa, Savannah, 1.02; Rafael Montero; Binghamton, 1.59; Matt Bowman, Savannah, 1.62; Greg Peavey, Vegas, 1.84; Collin McHugh, Vegas, 1.93; Domingo Tapia, St. Lucie, 2.29; Hansel Robles, St. Lucie, 2.49; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 2.55; Rainy Lara, Savannah, 2.70; Jacob deGrom, Binghamton, 3.24.

Wins: Rafael Montero, Binghamton, 3; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 3.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Binghamton, 5; Hamilton Bennett, St. Lucie, 2; Chasen Bradford, St. Lucie, 2; Hunter Carnevale, Savannah, 2; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 2.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Binghamton, 27; Jacob deGrom, Binghamton, 24; Zack Wheeler, Vegas, 21; Noah Syndergaard, St. Lucie, 19.

Short hops

• Right-hander Rafael Montero, who drew positive reviews in spring training, is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA in four starts for Double-A Binghamton. He has allowed 15 hits and one walk while striking out 27 in 22 2/3 innings.

• Recently signed right-hander D.J. Mitchell threw five innings Tuesday in an extended spring training game. He now is set to join Triple-A Las Vegas’ rotation.

Amed Rosario, the 17-year-old shortstop signed out of the Dominican Republic for a franchise-record $1.75 million international bonus, is wowing onlookers in extended spring training, despite the older competition. Rosario is being described as a “lanky doubles and triples machine.” He is likely to play in the Gulf Coast League. One thing is certain: He will not be assigned to the same level as fellow shortstop/2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini, who is ticketed for Brooklyn when the New York-Penn League season opens June 17 at Staten Island.

• Right-hander Michael Fulmer, who underwent surgery to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee on March 12, has completed the rehab phase of his recovery. He is due to pitch an inning in an intrasquad game today in Port St. Lucie. Fulmer, the 44th overall pick in 2011 out of high school in Oklahoma, went 7-6 with a 2.74 ERA in 21 starts last season with Savannah.

• Center fielder Matt den Dekker, who suffered a fractured right wrist on an attempted catch in a March 24 Grapefruit League game, is due to have the cast removed Monday. Den Dekker then will begin an approximate two-week rehab program to regain range of motion before beginning baseball activities.

Pedro Feliciano was placed on a temporary inactive list because of a family issue, a Mets official said. A second organization official said he believed Feliciano intended to work anyway with the extended spring training group when the Florida State League squad was on the road.

• The Mets’ Triple-A affiliate is experiencing the same frigid conditions in Colorado the Mets did last week. The 51s’ game Monday at Colorado Springs was postponed because of weather. Tuesday’s doubleheader, which included the makeup, then was scrapped, too.

• With Travis d’Arnaud sidelined for roughly two months with a nondisplaced fracture of the first metatarsal in his left foot, Wally Backman will have discretion how to divvy playing time behind the plate at Las Vegas. Since d’Arnaud’s injury, Landon Powell has started three games and Juan Centeno one behind the plate. There is an understanding, though, that Centeno has earned a share of playing time. The 51s also have German-born catcher Kai Gronauer, but he is currently on the DL in a paper maneuver to free a roster spot.

• Ex-Yankees reliever Sean Henn has allowed four hits and a walk while recording two outs over his first two appearances with Las Vegas.

Cory Vaughn, after going 2-for-19 to open his Double-A career, has upped his average to .292. He has three homers and 14 RBIs in 17 games with the B-Mets. He is the son of former major leaguer Greg Vaughn.

Farm report: Vaughn's fast start in FSL

April, 11, 2012
With his father, former major league outfielder Greg Vaughn, watching from the stands in Salisbury, Md., last summer, Cory Vaughn homered in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game.

Then, once fellow center fielder Matt den Dekker moved from high-A St. Lucie to Double-A Binghamton -- and once Vaughn’s low-A Savannah team clinched its first-half division title -- Vaughn was promoted to St. Lucie.

Courtesy of New York Mets
Cory Vaughn

He had a subpar transition to the higher level.

Vaughn hit a modest .219 with nine homers and 29 RBIs in 210 at-bats, along with two steals in five attempts in the Florida State League.

Now, though, Vaughn is repeating at that level. And with last year’s acclimation period behind him, the 22-year-old outfielder figures he should enjoy a solid first half and use that as a springboard to move onto Binghamton.

Vaughn, a fourth-round pick in 2010 out of San Diego State, where he played for Tony Gwynn, is hitting .333 with three doubles, a homer and four RBIs through five games this season with St. Lucie.

“It was a little bit of everything,” Vaughn said about last season’s adjustment period to high-A. “I wasn’t really as comfortable. I was the new guy there, different coaches. And the pitchers had a better idea of how to attack you. You had to change the game plan a little bit, and you couldn’t just go out there and try to wing it. You really had to come with an approach. It just took me a little bit to get used to that.”

Vaughn’s background is far deeper than growing up in a major league household. His father played 15 major league seasons, primarily for Milwaukee, Tampa Bay and San Diego.

Vaughn was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at 11 years old and continues to have to closely monitor his blood sugar levels, even during games. He keeps a test kit on the bench and carries a pump in his back pocket while in the outfield.

“It’s just part of it,” Vaughn said. “Basically, I just have to test my blood sugar six to seven times a day -- sometimes more during the game, because I want to make sure I’m on top of it. I have to count carbs. I go to an endocrinologist every three to six months just to make sure my hemoglobin A1c is all right, which is basically just a calculation of your blood sugar the past six months. It’s really not that bad besides just counting carbs and trying to lay off sweets here and there.

“I’m pretty used to it right now.”

Vaughn, by the way, said he is not the most successful of his siblings athletically. His 17-year-old sister Genay is an accomplished equestrian rider. Vaughn believes she may represent the United States in the Olympics in London this summer.

“She has a really good shot,” Vaughn said. “She’s 17, but she’s riding against people who are 30 and stuff.”

As for the outfield, Vaughn primarily has played right field as a professional. But this season in St. Lucie, so far he only has played left field.

“They told me they wanted me to start working into left field, because they said they want me to be able to play all the positions, which I guess helps me out in the long run,” Vaughn said. “I’ve just been taking balls in left, right, center -- a little bit here and there -- and just getting used to all the different spots.”

Organization leaders

Average: Darrell Ceciliani, St. Lucie, .444; Dustin Lawley, Savannah, .400; Jefry Marte, Binghamton, .375; T.J. Rivera, Savannah, .348; Luis Nieves, Savannah, .333; Vinny Rottino, Buffalo, .333; Cory Vaughn, St. Lucie, .333; Zach Lutz, Buffalo, .300; Richard Lucas, St. Lucie, .294; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, .267.

Homers: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 3; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 2.

RBI: Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 9.

Steals: Danny Muno, St. Lucie, 4.

ERA: Daniel Herrera, Buffalo, 0.00; Darin Gorski, Binghamton, 0.00; Kevin Mulvey, Binghamton, 0.00; Greg Peavey, Binghamton, 0.00; Angel Cuan, St. Lucie, 0.00; Chase Huchingson, St. Lucie, 0.00; Cory Mazzoni, St. Lucie, 0.00; Marcos Camarena, Savannah, 0.00; Jack Leathersich, Savannah, 0.00; Alex Panteliodis, Savannah, 0.00; Tyler Pill, Savannah, 0.00; Logan Verrett, Savannah, 0.00; Jared West, Savannah, 0.00.

Wins: Jeremy Hefner, Buffalo, 1; Dylan Owen, Buffalo, 1; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 1; Darin Gorski, Binghamton, 1; Greg Peavey, Binghamton, 1; Angel Cuan, St. Lucie, 1; Gonzalez Germen, St. Lucie, 1; Chase Huchingson, St. Lucie, 1; Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 1; Alex Panteliodis, Savannah, 1; Carlos Vazquez, Savannah, 1; Jared West, Savannah, 1.

Saves: Fernando Cabrera, Buffalo, 2; Josh Edgin, Binghamton, 1; Daniel Herrera, Buffalo, 1.

Strikeouts: Jack Leathersich, Savannah, 9; Marcos Camarena, Savannah, 8; Darin Gorski, Binhgamton, 7; Matt Harvey, Buffalo, 7; Tyler Pill, Savannah, 7.

Short hops

• 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey’s first two Triple-A starts had mixed results. On Opening Day for the Bisons in Pawtucket, Harvey allowed four runs on seven hits and four walks while also uncorking two wild pitches in a 95-pitch effort that lasted only 4 1/3 innings. Harvey was erratic up in the zone. That prompted a between-starts bullpen session with pitching coach Mark Brewer in which they worked to get full extension and a downward plane; Harvey had been opening up his front shoulder and the ball was coming out flat. In Triple-A start No. 2 on Tuesday night, Harvey allowed two runs, seven hits and a walk while striking out four Rochester batters in a 92-pitch effort that lasted five innings.

• Buffalo’s other highly regarded pitching prospect, Jeurys Familia, limited Pawtucket to one run on five hits and three walks while striking out four in a 95-pitch effort over 4 2/3 innings in his Triple-A debut Friday. Amped up early, Familia faced runners in scoring position in four of his five innings. Familia draws Yankees prospect Dellin Betances in the Bisons’ home opener Wednesday.

• Middle infielder Jordany Valdespin would appear a consideration for second-base duty at the major league level if David Wright lands on the DL with a fractured pinkie and Daniel Murphy shifts to third base. For now, though, Valdespin has continued to get a crash course in center field. Since Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ promotion to the majors to fill Andres Torres’ roster spot, Valdespin has now started four straight games in center field for Buffalo. He has tracked down the routine balls and has not yet been challenged. Assuming major league needs with Wright’s injury do not alter the plan, the goal is to expose Valdespin to center field four to five games a week, with his other starts primarily at second base.

• Outfielder Sean Ratliff, who was struck in the right eye with a foul ball in a Triple-A game late in spring training in 2011, may be nearing the resumption of his stalled career. Ratliff, who remained behind in Port St. Lucie when Double-A Binghamton broke camp, has been working out with the St. Lucie Mets, testing his vision wearing contact lenses while tracking fly balls under the lights at night. He may get into a Florida State League game soon. Ratliff, a fourth-round pick in 2008 out of Stanford, hit a combined .298 with 21 homers and 80 RBIs in 503 at-bats between St. Lucie and Binghamton in 2010. He has undergone four eye surgeries since the spring-training accident.

• 2011 fifth-round pick Jack Leathersich, the left-handed reliever who struck out 26 in 12 1/3 innings with Brooklyn last season after the draft, continues to accumulate Ks. The UMass-Lowell product leads the organization with nine strikeouts, which have come in five innings over two relief appearances with Savannah.

(Read full post)

Farm report: Vaughn sticks to baseball

August, 3, 2011
Cory Vaughn’s athletic interests have their limits.

While his father Greg played 15 seasons in the majors, the other competitive athletes in Vaughn’s family these days are his mother Michele and 17-year-old sister Genay, an aspiring Olympian. They are involved in equestrian, operating Starr Vaughn Equestrian Center in Elk Grove, Calif., and competing internationally in countries such as Germany.

Courtesy of New York Mets
Cory Vaughn

You will not find the 22-year-old outfielder Vaughn on horseback with them.

“Oh, definitely not,” Vaughn said. “Those horses are so big. I was so big when I was little, I felt like I was 20 feet in the air on top of the horse. I shied away from that and stuck to baseball.”

Baseball is working out nicely for Vaughn, a fourth-round pick last year out of Tony Gwynn’s San Diego State program.

After last year’s draft, Vaughn hit .307 with 14 homers in 72 games for the Brooklyn Cyclones and was named a New York-Penn League All-Star. This season, he hit .286 with four homers and had a .405 on-base percentage in 68 games with Savannah while again earning an All-Star selection.

After the Gnats clinched the first half, Vaughn was promoted to high-A St. Lucie. His average exceeded .313 just 10 days ago in the Florida State League, but has dipped to .250 through 35 games with a 4-for-36 rut. Vaughn has played right field with St. Lucie. That’s the position he played his freshman year at San Diego State before moving to center field.

“I feel like I almost saw guys throw harder down in Savannah, but here they have a better idea of how to approach you and get you out,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn’s healthy on-base percentage comes from walks as well as getting hit 19 times this season -- tied for fifth most in minor league baseball. He also was hit in the All-Star Game, so the actual total is 20.

“I’m not even standing on the plate,” he said. “I’m trying to have good at-bats. You’re not going to get on base every single game. You’re not going to have hits every single game. But I’ve been trying to go up there with a plan and approach, just try to work the counts a little bit, trying not to do too much -- just play the game the right way. Any way it takes I’m going to try to get on base.”

While he might have preferred to be promoted to St. Lucie earlier, Vaughn remained in low-A until fellow 2010 draft pick Matt den Dekker moved from St. Lucie to Binghamton -- and until Savannah clinched the first-half title in its South Atlantic League division. That allowed Vaughn to participate in the SAL All-Star Game in Salisbury, Md., where he homered off Roman Mendez of the Rangers organization with Vaughn’s father on hand as a spectator. His father primarily played for Milwaukee, San Diego and Tampa Bay during a major league career that spanned 1989 to 2003.

“The coach went out there and talked to him because he was a little wild,” Vaughn said about the opposing pitcher in the All-Star Game. “He was throwing probably about 96, 97ish mph. First of all, in an All-Star game, you’re not trying to get cheated at all. I go up there, and the first pitch as soon as the coach is done talking to him, a fastball up in the zone, I just took a good swing. It worked out for me that it got over the fence.”

As for his father being in attendance for the game, Vaughn added: “He tries to make it to as many as he can, but my sister is in high school in Sacramento. And my mom is doing her business with equestrian and horses. Whenever he has a chance he tries to make it out. I mean, I talk to him every night. He tries to give me my own space.”

Vaughn’s Twitter handle, by the way, is @sugarfreecv. It’s a reference to Vaughn dealing with juvenile diabetes since his youth.

Organization leaders

Average: Juan Lagares, Binghamton, .348; Richard Lucas, Brooklyn, .340; Danny Muno, Brooklyn, .333; Josh Satin, Buffalo, .329; Julio Concepcion, Kingsport, .318; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, .317; Greg Pron, Kingsport, .315; Cam Maron, Kingsport, .306; Luis Figueroa, Buffalo, .305; Charley Thurber, Brooklyn, .302.

Homers: Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 19; Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 16; Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 15; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 14.

RBI: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 75; Josh Satin, Buffalo, 70; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 67; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 65; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 56.

Steals: Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 31; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, 28; Matt den Dekker, Binghamton, 19; Darrell Ceciliani, Savannah, 16.

ERA: Rafael Montero, GCL Mets, 1.45; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 2.20; Todd Weldon, Brooklyn, 2.56; Erik Goeddel, GCL Mets, 2.57; Gabriel Ynoa, GCL Mets, 2.83; Bret Mitchell, Kingsport, 2.95; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 2.97; Angel Cuan, Savannah, 3.00; Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 3.32; Carlos Vazquez, Brooklyn, 3.38.

Wins: Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 10; Greg Peavey, St. Lucie, 10; Angel Cuan, Savannah, 9; Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 8; Brandon Moore, Binghamton, 8.

Saves: Josh Edgin, St. Lucie, 21; Dale Thayer, Buffalo, 14; Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 10; Hamilton Bennett, Savannah, 10.

Strikeouts: Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 130; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 115; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 112; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 104; Gonzalez Germen, Savannah, 101.

Short hops

• Right-hander Zack Wheeler allowed three first-inning runs, and four runs in four innings, on Monday in his Mets debut, with Class A St. Lucie. Wheeler did not issue a walk. He reverted to his high school mechanics for his final two starts in the Giants organization, and that resulted in issuing only two walks in 11 1/3 innings. Through 76 2/3 innings with San Jose, Wheeler had walked 45.

Jim Callis of Baseball America re-ranks the Mets’ top-10 prospects this way, naming Wheeler the organization’s top farmhand, followed by Matt Harvey, 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo, Jeurys Familia, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jenrry Mejia, Cesar Puello, 44th overall pick Michael Fulmer, Jordany Valdespin and Wilmer Flores. (Mejia is not eligible for Rookie of the Year consideration going forward because he spent a half-season in the majors as a reliever.)

• Fulmer, a prep right-hander from Oklahoma, should make his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League shortly after signing for a reported $937,500. Fourth-round pick Tyler Pill from Cal State-Fullerton made his Brooklyn debut on Tuesday with a scoreless inning after two appearances in the Gulf Coast League.

• Familia returned to Binghamton’s rotation Tuesday after missing three weeks with a shoulder impingement.

Dillon Gee will be enshrined in the Brooklyn Cyclones ring of honor in a ceremony before Thursday’s New York-Penn League game. His No. 20 will be displayed in the stadium, alongside the names/numbers of outfielder Angel Pagan, right-hander Brian Bannister and second baseman Danny Garcia, who was the first Cyclone to reach the majors. While the numbers are displayed at MCU Park, they are not retired.

• 2009 top pick Steve Matz, who is progressing slowly from Tommy John surgery performed 15 months ago, has yet to throw a professional pitch in a game and is unlikely to do so this season. The former standout at Ward Melville High School on Long Island has not resumed throwing following a shutdown for micro-sized muscle tears in the left elbow area. Matz is just preparing for an offseason, with an eye toward pitching in 2012.

• Infielder Josh Satin has a 10-game hitting streak and has upped his average to .354 with one homer and 10 RBIs in 12 games since a promotion to Triple-A Buffalo. Satin mostly will play third base with the Bisons, but also will see action at second base, with limited duty at first base.

• Outfielder Fernando Martinez (.254, 8 HR, 27 RBI, 189 at-bats) returned Saturday after missing two weeks with the Bisons with a hip injury.

• St. Lucie manager Pedro Lopez will manage the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League. In addition to Mets prospects, the squad also will include farmhands from Milwaukee, St. Louis, Seattle and San Diego. The Mets will determine their player contingent later this month.

• Food poisoning struck the Brooklyn Cyclones, including fifth-round pick Jack Leathersich, who has not appeared since striking out the side in an inning on July 24.

• In his latest start, Harvey narrowly remained winless since a June 26 promotion to Double-A. Harvey limited Harrisburg to one run and four hits while walking two and striking out 10, including Nationals phenom Bryce Harper twice, in seven innings Thursday. However, Harvey received a no-decision.

• Buffalo third baseman Zach Lutz, who suffered a second concussion this season after again getting hit in the head with a pitch, has resumed hitting off a tee, throwing and running. He should return to games in the near future.

Mike Nickeas’ promotion to the majors resulted in a trickle up with catchers in the minors. Dusty Ryan, who missed substantial time this season to get a meniscus tear repaired, moved from Binghamton to Buffalo. Jean Luc Blaquiere was activated from the disabled list with the B-Mets.

Juan Lagares continues to sizzle since a promotion to Double-A. After consecutive multi-hit games, Lagares has lifted his average to .409 through 44 Eastern League at-bats while displaying solid bat speed and arm strength. Lagares suffered a gruesome ankle fracture with St. Lucie in late July last year and is still not in perfect form health-wise, so Mets brass is anxious to see how he performs in 2012 when healthier.

• Right-hander Taylor Whitenton (4-2, 2.61 ERA) successfully returned to Savannah’s rotation after missing two starts with a forearm strain. He was pulled after three scoreless innings to be cautious as he eases back into action.

• UCLA product Erik Goeddel’s next start should come with Savannah for the first time since May 23. The right-hander tossed three scoreless innings Monday in the Gulf Coast League as he works back from a shoulder strain.

• Brooklyn third baseman Richard Lucas has reached base in 24 straight games. Lucas, who ranks third in the New York-Penn League with a .340 average, is a fourth-round pick out of high school in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2007 and probably merits playing at a higher level. But the Mets valued getting him regular playing time at third base, and he would have been boxed out at higher levels by St. Lucie’s Jefry Marte and Savannah’s Aderlin Rodriguez. Lucas experienced shoulder soreness during spring training and when he was ready to play, it coincided with the start of Brooklyn’s season anyway.

• Outfielder Travis Taijeron, the organization’s 18th-round pick out of Cal Poly Pomona, had five homers in a 10-game span with Brooklyn.

Chin-lung Hu, who experienced throwing yips with Buffalo, is due to begin a rehab assignment shortly in the Gulf Coast League. Hu worked on switch-hitting while inactive, but it will be his call whether he takes that into games.

Adam Rubin’s farm report appears Wednesdays during the regular season



Bartolo Colon
15 4.09 151 202
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187