The Cyclones are two games away from a NYPL title and no one is more important to their championship hopes than All-Star outfielder Cory Vaughn. One of the keys to the Cyclones' success all season long, Vaughn has had a heck of a year batting .307 with fourteen bombs, good for second in the league. After getting drafted in the fourth round last June, Vaughn signed quickly and got right to work terrorizing NYPL pitching and fortunately enough for us, even had some time to sit down and have a quick little chat with me. Read it after the break:
Rob: So let me first start by asking how you've enjoyed your pro debut in Brooklyn so far, on and off the field?
Corey: I’ve had a blast. I love the atmosphere here. We pack them in, so that makes it fun.
Now let's talk about your power explosion; you blew past any season high in homers from back in college in no time, have you made any adjustments or do you just really like the wood bat?
I’ve never hit more than 10 home runs in a season, but now I have the opportunity to play every day, so more games means more chances.
How has it been playing for Wally Backman? How would you describe him as a manager?
He’s intense. He really knows how to get you going and get you ready to win.
As a San Diego St. Aztec, what was it like to play for a Hall of Famer in Tony Gwynn? And what type of manager was he?
Coach Gwynn was much more laid back, but wanted to win just as bad. There’s not too many better guys to learn hitting from.
What do you feel is the biggest difference between professional and college baseball?
I think just playing every day is the biggest difference.
And I have to ask, during college you were a teammate of pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg, was he always as incredible as he looked this year (before the injury)?
He was lights out from the first time I ever saw him take the mound.
Can you describe draft day for us? How did you hear you'd been selected by the Mets, what were you up to, immediate reaction, that kind of stuff.
I got the call in the 4th round, and I couldn’t have been happier. The Mets are a great organization, and I’m happy to be a part of it.
What do you feel are your strengths and your weaknesses as a baseball player?
I think one of my strengths is that I’ve been around the game for so long. I’ve grown up with baseball, so every part of the game feels natural top me. My weaknesses – I think I can really improve in just about every area.
As the son of a major leaguer (and a pretty darn good one), obviously you had a different experience growing up than most young ballplayers. What was it like as a kid who was around that type of lifestyle from day one?
It was like a dream come true. I was a bat boy, I was out on the field with big leaguers…it was amazing.
Did you ever play any other sports?
I played football and basketball. I was a free safety and wide receiver, and a shooting guard
What else do you like to do in your free time?
Sleep! And play golf.
What's your favorite TV show?
What's the last movie you saw (and was it any good)?
Step Brothers. It’s amazing.
Who was your favorite professional player growing up and why?
My dad, obviously. After that, probably Ken Griffey Jr. He made the game look easy, and seemed like he was always having fun.
So he was pretty brief but he did provide some interesting insight: Many of us have theorized about why Vaughn has really seemed to blossom after getting drafted and whether or not what he showed this season is for real or if Keith Law was right. In one of his answers, Vaughn attributes that success to regular playing time as a pro. It's an interesting and more importantly, a reasonably plausible explanation. During his sophomore season he played nearly every game but during his freshman and junior seasons he did not so let's hope he's right about that. But either way, he's truly been a force this year and I for one couldn't be more pleased that we drafted him.