2019 MLB Draft Notes: LSU neutralizes Vaughn, Rutschman’s big blast, and Tommy Henry keeps rolling

On the latest Baseball America Podcast, MLB Draft writer Carlos Collazo shared some reports he heard from MLB scouts about Cal first baseman, Andrew Vaughn. I highly recommend listening to the podcast because it does touch on many players, but some scouts have told Collazo that Vaughn might be the best draft prospect in this year’s class.

That’s going to be hard to fathom for some because how can an athletically limited first baseman go number one overall? To do that, Vaughn will need to post monster numbers.

Heading into this weekend’s series against a formidable opponent, LSU, Vaughn has been a monster at the plate. Hitting 18-for-34 blasting seven home runs with 15 walks to just five strikeouts in the first 10 games of the season. Vaughn is on pace to hit 37 home runs in 2019, which some scouts are already comparing him to Kris Bryant at the plate.

Watching Friday night’s game between Cal and LSU, I didn’t get a chance to see Vaughn do much. His first plate appearance ended in a walk as starting pitcher Zack Hess stayed away. Next plate appearance, Vaughn begun with a 3-0 count with Hess again staying away. Next pitch was a fastball on the outer half of the plate, and then Hess challenged Vaughn with a fastball letter high in the zone. Vaughn took a mighty hack but fouled back into the net. Hess would win the battle by throwing a curveball off the outside corner which got Vaughn to fly out to right field.

After intentionally walking Vaughn in the fifth inning, LSU had no choice but to attack Vaughn in the fourth plate appearance as it was the bases loaded with two outs. Cal was leading by just a run, 2-1, this was a big moment in the game and a prime opportunity for Vaughn to break it open.

Watching strike one on a low fastball in the zone, Vaughn swung and missed on another low fastball for strike two, but the pitch went five-hole on the catcher for a wild pitch. A run scored putting Cal up 3-1, and now there were runners on second and third. I wouldn’t have been shocked if LSU decided to walk Vaughn again with an 0-2 count out of fear, but on the very next pitch, Vaughn swung through a curveball striking out and ending the threat.

In Vaughn’s last plate appearance, with runners on again, Vaughn hit a weak chopper back to the pitcher on another curveball ending another threat on a 1-3 groundout. Finishing the night 0-for-3 with two walks. The main thing to take away from this game is Vaughn’s ability to hit breaking pitches. Having watched three games for Vaughn, I’ve seen him struggle with this pitch and would like to see what adjustments he can make moving forward in the season.

Cal and LSU play a doubleheader today starting at 11:00 am CT.


Last night in Seattle, Oregon State’s Adley Rutschman came up big with a monster two-run homer.

That blast was enough as Oregon State edged Minnesota, 2-1. Rutschman was 2-for-3 with the home run and two walks. After hitting just nine home runs in 2018, the switch-hitting catcher already has six in 2019 and is on pace to hit 26 home runs this season. I don’t think Rutschman will reach that mark, but he’s already showing more home run power this season which is something scouts wanted to see.


When it comes to baseball, the Big Ten is many steps behind the SEC, ACC, Pac-12, and Big 12 in overall quality. However, Michigan starting 2019 looks like a legit contender in making the College World Series as they knocked off #3 UCLA in Los Angeles last night, 7-5.

A big reason for the early Wolverines success is outstanding pitching from Friday night starter, Tommy Henry. Asking around to those who have seen Henry pitched, he’s labeled as an early Day 2 pick (meaning third or fourth round. Henry is a left-handed starter who hits 90-92 mph with his fastball that pairs well with a slider.

In his first three starts, Henry pitched 23 innings without allowing a run. Over that span, he struck out 34 batters to just two walks while allowing 10 hits. Incredible numbers but the competition wasn’t stiff as Henry faced Binghampton, The Citadel, and Cal State Northridge.

Last night was a big test for Henry facing UCLA, and once again, Henry performed very well striking out 10 over six innings of working allowing just two runs on six hits and two walks. Planting himself on the draft radar and worthy of following the rest of 2019 to see if he can find himself in late first to the early second round range as the White Sox have the 45th pick overall.

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Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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Josh – any snowball’s chance in hell that Rutschman will be there at #3 … or are Balt & KC sure to grab him first? Has Langaliers injury disqualified him from W Sox #1 pick?


Thanks for the heads-up on that PCast, Josh. Great stuff. I don’t think the Sox can go wrong taking whoever of Abrams, Vaughn and Rutschman falls to them at 3.

lil jimmy

At the top of the draft, slot money plays a big part. Kyle Schwarber is a good example. Get someone you like who might go later and sign them under slot. That’s not an occasional thing either.
Last year, the first three picks signed under slot. More than 2 million under.
In 2017 Royce Lewis was the first pick, signed for 1 million under slot.
Someone like Vaughn would happily agree pre-draft to #3 bonus money to sign at #1.
Rutchman might say, if you want me, pay me like Rodon did.
Either High school kid might say, yes to a million off to be the top pick.
I guess I’d say, grab your popcorn and get a beer. There are four players at the top and we get to choose from at least two of them!


I agree there are 4 at the top. But I don’t trust the Sox to get Witt’s bat squared up. Thus my preference for any of the other 3.
BTW- I believe it will come down to Abrams or Vaughn. As I see next to no chance Adley drops to #3.

lil jimmy

Of that bunch, I think Witt could be a star. It’s easier to be a star in Chicago than KC or Baltimore.


And he’d have an even better chance of becoming a star if he fell to a team that can fix his lower half. IMO- Sox need a draft pick who requires less tinkering.

lil jimmy

Bobby Witt’s stats this weekend
16-19,/ 2 2B,/ 3 3B,/ 4 HR,/ 13 RBI,/ 17 R,
.842 AVG.
If only he can fix his lower half.


Tools and pedigree. If he hits 500 for the season might be tough to argue the the hit took much either.


Not related to the draft but the Royals just picked up Martin Maldonado for 2.5M over one year. In other words, the exact contract that the Whote Sox gave James McCann.


Luis Robert brittle, check:
“Luis Robert is day-to-day with a jammed right thumb.”

Luis Robert also slow healer, check:

“Sox say it’s minor, say he’s expected back Thursday.”

Luis Robert, stubborn, check:
“Luis Robert has ran into some issues with his aggressive style on the field, but the Sox prospect says that’s the only way he knows how to play.”


Repeatedly getting the same injury can’t be explained away as easily as “his agressive style”.
Is that a Scott Merkin quote?


I had to look twice to re-check but it’s a Van Schouwen. I should have known by the lack of a Michigan reference.