(Photo via Cal Athletics Twitter)
Cal slugger Andrew Vaughn has had quite an eventful offseason.
From Berkeley, to Cape Cod, to Los Angeles, now to Cuba, Vaughn has been racking up the frequent flier miles. And some hardware.
On June 28, USA Baseball named Vaughn this year’s Golden Spikes Award winner. Vaughn is the first Golden Bear to ever win the prestigious award, given to the best player in college baseball each year. But Vaughn’s summer work was already in progress when he received the award.
His summer started earlier than he would have liked, with the Golden Bears finishing an unceremonious 16-14 in Pac 12 play and missing the postseason. That’s no disservice to Vaughn’s production though, as the sophomore first baseman slashed .402/.531/.819 with 23 home runs, all of which were top-10 in the country. He was named Pac 12 player of the year, as well as a Pac-12 all-defensive player.
Vaughn’s season had historical significance for Cal, as he set the record for best slugging percentage in school history, and tied Xavier Nady’s record from 1999 for home runs in a season.
In mid-June, Vaughn flew across the country to play in the Cape Cod League, along with the other top collegiate players in the country. Vaughn’s production made the trip with him, as he slashed .308/.368/.654 with five home runs in just 14 games. His team, the Wareham Gatemen, went 9-4 in those games, and his teammates combined for four home runs.
After two weeks with the Gatemen, Vaughn and his family were invited to the Golden Spikes Award presentation in Los Angeles. The other finalists were quite an impressive group.
No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize from Auburn was there, as was Roger Clemens’s son Kody from Texas. Joining them was Brady Singer from Florida, a first-round pick with three College World Series appearances in his back pocket.
Vaughn was chosen over all of them for the award, which comes with some remarkable recent history. Since 2001, every Golden Spikes award winner has made the big leagues, with the exception of the two most recent winners, Brendan McKay and Kyle Lewis. The group includes three MVPs (Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper, and Buster Posey) and two Cy Young award winners (David Price and Tim Lincecum).
But Vaughn didn’t spend much time in Los Angeles to celebrate.
After earning his hardware, Vaughn was back to work—but not with Wareham. Vaughn was invited to play with Team USA, along with 25 other elite college baseball players. Less than 24 hours after winning the award, Vaughn was across the country in Cary, N.C. helping Team USA to a 3-1 win over Chinese Taipei.
This marked Vaughn’s second straight summer with team USA. The team competes against the national teams of Chinese Taipei, Japan and Cuba for about two and half weeks.
Now, Vaughn is in Cuba for a five-game series against the Cuban national team, which wraps up on July 14. Then, he’ll head home for some well-deserved downtime.
Next year, all of college baseball will be keeping an eye on Vaughn, as he prepares for the MLB Draft. Improving on last year’s production will be no easy task, but Vaughn is certainly putting in a lot of offseason work.