Disclaimer (because someone will ask why a player I didn't see isn't on this list): This is a ranking of the best Mets prospects I saw in person this year. This is not a comprehensive Mets prospect list. I did not see Las Vegas, St. Lucie or the GCL team this year. If a player is not on the list, it is most likely because I did not see him. Otherwise, all rankings are consistent with how I would order the players within the Mets system. Oh yeah, and I am not a scout.
14. Cory Vaughn, OF
6'3", 225 lbs
Age: (as of Opening Day 2014) 24.9
Acquired: 4th round, 2010
2013: 383 PA, .252/.348/.400, 96 K, 41 BB between GCL Mets (R), St. Lucie (A+) and Binghamton (AA)
Date(s) seen: 4/11/13- 4/14/13 vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR)
5/20/13- 5/22/13 @ New Britain Rock Cats (MIN)
The short of it: Power/speed combo keeps Vaughn on the map, but once again the whole fails to add up to the sum of the tools.
The long of it: Vaughn has long been a favorite of Mets prospect watchers. The power/speed combo, the athletic bloodlines, and, while we're not selling jeans here, he definitely looks good in a uniform. And hey, if you toss out his non-Double-A stats (he was rehabbing for most of that time after all), his line looks even a bit better. Squint hard enough, and you might even convince yourself he's a 20/20 guy. And hey, the swing is better now than it was when he first started his pro career, there's much less pre-swing motion, and he no longer has his hands low and everything cocked forward. Unfortunately, it's still very long and doesn't stay in the hitting zone very long. Because of this Vaughn is especially vulnerable to pitches down around his knees or offspeed stuff that breaks down and away, and despite the higher hands, you can still beat him up in the zone. He doesn't use his legs much and relies on the long swing path and his upper body strength for most of his power. Righties eat him up if they can locate down or spin a breaking ball. In the field he is a steady hand in left, but the arm probably limits him to that spot. The left-field profile is tough, especially since I don't see him making enough contact at higher levels to really tap into his solid-average power.
The projection: 5th outfielder/right-handed pinch hitter
Risk Factor: Medium. Platoon value probably will get him major league at-bats, though there isn't much ceiling here. Hit tool may fall apart at highest level.
What’s next: Despite being held back in St. Lucie after an elbow injury this Summer due to the crowded Binghamton outfield, I'd be surprised if Vaughn isn't pencilled into the Vegas starting lineup in left. He has the skill set to take full advantage of all that the PCL has to offer fringy prospect bats, so I expect some ludicrous triple slash despite a problematic K rate, and a lot of clarion calls for him on twitter.
What I'll be looking for in 2014: Just keep hitting lefties, and the world will beat a path to your door. I think otherwise Vaughn pretty much is what he is going to be at this point.
Video (w/ notes from Alex Nelson)
"Vaughn's always been one of the oddest prospects in the Mets organization. The talent has always been obvious, but the skills have always been jarringly inconsistent in their polish. Some guys are raw and without skill, but the talent makes them look good from time to time. Vaughn isn't like that. With Vaughn, it's more like he knows what he should look like, tries, but something just always gets in the way. Sort of a dissonance that's difficult to comprehend but instantly apparent. His hitting mechanics have always been difficult for him to duplicate, and he appears to have made some adjustments this year, but I'm really not sure what it's going to actually amount to. He still has a deep hand load that adds a lot of length to his swing, and he still wraps the bat behind his head, which means the barrel of the bat trails his hands as he swings. What he has changed is the base of his stance and where his hands starts. He used to have a wide open stance, but he's closed it now, and I think it's for the better. It won't mess with his timing as much, and it really helps his balance at the plate; he often looked like he was listing to the left at the point of contact. He still needs to be careful not to leak his weight too far forward too soon, but that does seem better here than it has in the past. Also, he's starting his hands a little higher up than he used to--at least sometimes--which gives his swing path a little more pitch than it formerly had. Both things should help his power production, but for various reasons, I'm still quite worried about his contact ability. Pitch recognition is really going to make him or break him as a prospect."