Yermín Mercedes came out of nowhere to become the most productive White Sox hitter (.395/.435/.628). Carlos Rodón tore his way back onto the starting pitching scene with an incredible April (0.72 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 25 IP). Michael Kopech has been the most effective weapon for the White Sox out of the bullpen with a 1.45 ERA, 30 strikeouts, and only four walks in 18 2/3 innings pitched. Andrew Vaughn is the next man that needs to step up.
The White Sox are in desperate need of an outfielder to step into a crucial position. Jiménez, Robert, and Adam Engel are all sidelined. Engel will return in a few weeks, but he even had another setback in his rehabilitation. Obviously, fans have had their reasonable gripes with Jake Lamb and Leury García getting more playing time than the White Sox top prospect, but at this point, Tony La Russa has no other choice but to play Andrew Vaughn everyday. After all, a 23-year-old should be able to withstand the wear and tear of a complete baseball season.
Vaughn has shown considerable promise thus far. His average exit velocity is 93.6 MPH and he knows his strike zone (.373 OBP and 11.9% walk rate).
He will come into his own at the plate, and he is already a solid Major League hitter after a lost 2020 minor league season. Fans should remember, he missed the development stages of AA and AAA baseball, so only taking three weeks of somewhat sparse MLB plate appearances to hold is own is a great accomplishment. This shows how talented Vaughn is as a ballplayer.
The 2021 season hinges on the continued success of the starting rotation, the balance of the bullpen, and another bat to step up, barring any acquisitions made by general manager Rick Hahn. Mercedes, Rodón, and Kopech have been wonderful storylines, so Andrew Vaughn can be one, too. Give him the chance, Tony, and see what the guy can do.