(670 The Score) White Sox hitting coach Frank Menechino got straight to the point when assessing rookie outfielder Andrew Vaughn’s first month-plus in the big leagues.
“F*** the home run,” Menechino said. “Let’s hit .300.”
Vaughn, 23, has been thrown into the fray quickly, and his much-hyped power hasn’t materialized yet as he’s hitting .257 with no homers, three RBIs and a .719 OPS in 23 games. That lack of homers isn't a concern in the minds of manager Tony La Russa and Menechino, who both want him to continue to focus on the fundamentals with the belief the power will follow.
"Good hitting starts with your foundation, where is your head as the ball is delivered to the plate,” La Russa said. “He consistently stays on it and was taught to use the whole field. He does not just try to hit home runs to the pull side. He works hard and is very open to coaches. During spring training, he did this special drill with Jim Thome (in hitting to all fields). His basic setup and the way he competes during the entire at-bat, those are the marks of a really good hitter.”
The White Sox selected Vaughn at No. 3 overall in the 2019 amateur draft. A first baseman by trade, he’s also learning the left field position on the fly, as he was tasked with that challenge when slugger Eloy Jimenez suffered a pectoral tear late in spring training.
Lately, Vaughn has begun to heat up more, as he’s hitting .300 with four doubles in his last nine games.
“He is just getting his at-bats and playing all the time,” Menechino said. "The kid played college ball and A-ball two years ago. So just getting up here and relaxing, getting to work every day is important. The kid can hit. It's just about relaxing and figuring out the league. His work is great, and it's all positive. I couldn't ask for anything more.”
The home run ball is expected to be a big part of Vaughn’s game moving forward as he develops.
“It will happen eventually,” Vaughn said Tuesday. “It's not something I am going out trying to do. I pride myself on being a hitter first, and I've always said that. That's the biggest part of my game – it is hitting and getting in that groove and just going at it every day.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.