Greg Vaughn was noted for his long-ball binges, hitting 355 home runs during a 15-year Major League career. Now son Cory
has a power outburst of his own to talk about.
It came in the Minor Leagues rather than the Majors, but it was still impressive. Not often does a player hit homers in six of eight games, especially in the pitcher-friendly Class A Advanced Florida State League.
"I've never had anything like it before," said the younger Vaughn, a 23-year-old outfielder with the St. Lucie Mets.
Vaughn hit homers in three straight games from April 27-29, connected again May 1 and then homered in consecutive appearances May 3 and May 5. He drove in 10 runs during the stretch and was 12-for-34.
"I like to see the numbers on outfielders' backs," Vaughn said of the view as he circled the bases. "It's fun."
The outburst gave Vaughn, rated the Mets' No. 15 prospect, the league lead with eight homers, just one short of the nine he hit in 63 games with St. Lucie last year after a mid-season promotion from Savannah in the Class A South Atlantic League.
Of course, the fourth-round pick by the Mets in the 2010 Draft still has a ways to go to match some of the power displays of his father, who had a three-homer game while hitting seven homers in seven contests for the Reds in 1999.
That was the year the older Vaughn hit 45 homers -- his second-highest total. He had 50 with the Padres in 1998.
"He could hit the ball a long, long way," said the son, who spent a lot of time around Major League clubhouses as a youngster.
Now Vaughn, who played for his father's former teammate Tony Gwynn at San Diego State, is trying to become a Major League slugger himself.
To do that, he must overcome Type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed at age 11 and plays with an insulin pump in his back pocket that connects to a port in his right leg. That means the right-handed hitter and thrower is a left-legged slider.
"I check my sugar level seven or eight times a day," Vaughn said. "I have to make sure I load up on carbs and keep my weight where it should be. It's hard with the hot, humid weather."
Hall of Famers Ron Santo and Catfish Hunter were diabetic and others like Jason Johnson, Dave Hollins and Buddy Carlyle have played in the Majors more recently. But Vaughn had basically been on his own until playing with fellow diabetic Rylan Sandoval after signing with the Mets.
"We roomed together and that helped a lot," Vaughn said. "It was the first time I'd ever been around another player who was dealing with the same thing I was."
Vaughn is a willing spokesman for the disease and someday would like to give back by working in diabetes awareness. But his pursuit of a Major League spot is his priority for now.
To follow his father to the Majors, Vaughn will have to make more consistent contact. He was hitting .262 through Monday and had struck out 27 times in 28 games.
"It's a trade-off," Vaughn said. "I don't want to strike out, but it is all about run production. To do that, I have swing the bat."
Burgos sharp again: On a Brevard County pitching staff featuring top Brewers prospects Jed Bradley, Taylor Jungmann and Jimmy Nelson, it is Hiram Burgos who has shined the most. Burgos (2-1) lowered his FSL-leading ERA to 0.79 with seven scoreless innings in a victory over Palm Beach. The right-hander has allowed 18 hits in 34 1/3 innings while striking out 31 and walking five.
Showdown series: St. Lucie won three of the four games against visiting Dunedin in a battle of the top two teams in the Florida State League. The Mets (25-6) lead the South Division, and the Blue Jays (21-10) top the North Division. The teams don't play again until the second half, with four games at Dunedin on July 19-22.
Biddle bounces back: Clearwater left-hander Jesse Biddle, who was forced out of previous start after one batter when he was hit on the hand by a batted ball, worked six innings against Charlotte to get his first victory of the season after two losses. He allowed two runs on three hits while striking out five and walking two. Biddle, a first-round pick in the 2010 Draft, is the Phillies' No. 2 prospect and ranks No. 78 on MLB.com's Top 100 List.
Martinez masterful: Palm Beach right-hander Carlos Martinez, the Cardinals' No. 2 prospect, held Brevard County to three hits and a run over seven innings while improving to 2-1 and lowering his ERA to 2.17. He fanned seven and walked one, giving him 30 strikeouts to nine free passes in 29 innings.