It’s only the third week of the season, and Cory Vaughn — the Cyclones’ speedy right-fielder with a surprising amount of power — is emerging as the face of the team.
Vaughn, a 21-year-old prospect who carries himself with the air of a locker room leader, has shown only glimpses of why the Mets picked him in the fourth round of the 2010 draft.
But those moments have been impressive.
In his first at-bat of the third game of the season, Vaughn jacked the first pitch he saw deep into the right-field bleachers. It was the Clones’ first dinger of the year — and even more remarkably — one of the few homeruns to gusty right field in the team’s rich history.
And on Sunday, Vaughn had a two-run shot — again in the first inning — that got the Cyclones back on track after the team had lost back-to-back games on the road.
And on Monday night, he added another dinger and a triple. Since June 21, he’s 9-for-27 with three homers and eight RBIs.
If this kid ends up climbing the minor league ranks, it can be attributed in part to his major league pedigree.
Vaughn is a second-generation player who watched his dad, Greg Vaughn, play on the big stage for 14 years. The elder Vaughn was a fierce power hitter, and he was in the thick of home run race of 1998 along with Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey Jr. while playing for the San Diego Padres.
But the younger Vaughn said he doesn’t try and imitate his hard-hitting dad.
“I’m my own player, I don’t try and play like anyone else,” Vaughn said while a horde of kids begged him for autographs. “All I want to do is hit the ball hard — I try to keep it simple, not do too much.”
Still, there will be plenty of ugly moments as this closely watched prospect develops.
He is in the mix with other Cyclone stalwarts like Jeff Flagg and Darrell Ceciliani for most RBIs and hits, but also has an uninspired .250 batting average.
Vaughn says he is “all business,” and remains focused on improving his game — a mentality that will help as he grows accustomed to the atmosphere of MCU Park. Vaughn said that even when his old teammate at San Diego State would take the mound — none other than the flame-throwing Stephen Strasburg — it was nothing compared to Brooklyn.
“We’d get just 3,000 people in San Diego,” Vaughn said. “Here it’s just a whole different atmosphere.”