Q&A with Mets 2010 4th Round Pick Cory Vaughn

With their 4th round pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, the New York Mets selected San Diego State outfielder Cory Vaughn. InsidePitchMagazine.com caught up with Vaughn, the son of former big leaguer Greg Vaughn, to talk about his experience playing under Tony Gwynn, his development as a ball player, his best tools, what it was like facing former teammate Stephen Strasburg, and more.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Tell us what is going through your mind right now after being selected by a team like the New York Mets?

Cory Vaughn: It's probably the best thing I could ever ask for. I was sitting here waiting when I got the phone call and they said I'm going to be a New York Met, and I couldn't ask for anything more. To go from a 43rd rounder in high school to the 4th, and the opportunity to play for a great team like the Mets is just…I have no words that can even describe it. I'm very emotional today, excited, family is here, friends are here, so I couldn't ask for anything more.

Inside Pitch: Were you surprised it was the Mets that selected you? Did you and the Mets have any discussions leading up to the draft?

Vaughn: Actually, I was kind of surprised. I think I talked to their scout once after our conference tournament after our season ended. I filled out a little medical thing and a little questionnaire, and that was the only time I talked to them the whole year, so I was kind of caught by surprise because I talked to a lot of other teams before the draft a couple of times a week.

Inside Pitch: Do you have any ideas of what the Mets' organization or farm system is like?

Vaughn: No I don't. I have some buddies that actually played for the Brooklyn Cyclones, so that's the only squad I know.

Inside Pitch: How do you feel your amateur days have prepared you for the jump to professional ball?

Vaughn: Going out from high school, I was very raw. I wasn't mature enough I think to go play pro ball. Going to college really allowed me to mature as a baseball player on the field and off the field. Working with coach Gwynn, coach Martinez, and all the coaches really helped my maturation. If I had to do it all over again I'd still go to San Diego State. I think it definitely prepared me for the road to come.

Inside Pitch: What was it like playing for a Hall of Famer like Tony Gwynn who had such an illustrious career in the big leagues?

Vaughn: It was amazing. He has so much knowledge. Working with him in the cages every day, just hearing it from a big leaguer, from a Hall of Famer, it was unbelievable. We were getting the knowledge that he learned in the big leagues at ages 18, 19 and 20 that half of the players don't learn until they're 25. I got to take bits and pieces of what he was telling me and apply it to my game, and it's all been working out so far.

Inside Pitch: Your father Greg played in the big leagues; what was it like growing up with a big league dad? Are there any similarities between his game and yours?

Vaughn: Growing up and having my father in the big leagues was amazing. I've been in major league ballparks since I was like 5, even since I was born actually. I remember running around the clubhouses when I was 5, 6, 7, all the way up until I was 14, my freshman year in high school. I got to see how it really works, how the game is supposed to be played, and the work ethic.

Similarities between me and my father…he tells me I'm my own player, I feel like I've come out of that shadow. In high school I was pressured a little bit, but as I've matured and grown up a little bit I actually don't think about that.

Inside Pitch: Did you have any expectations of where you may have gone in the draft? Did you have any range of rounds you anticipated being selected or did you just prepare to be drafted at any time?

Vaughn: I really had no expectations, but our pitching coach Eric Valenzuela heard that I was going to go after the 10th round, but I got the call in the 4th so I was really surprised.

Inside Pitch: Getting to your game, what areas do you think are the strongest? What areas will you focus on improving once your professional career begins?

Vaughn: I'd probably say my arm strength and baseball instincts, but you can improve everything. You don't ever perfect anything in this game. You just have to work hard and continue to work hard if you want to make it. I know I have a lot of work to do and I want to improve everything.

Inside Pitch: You played the outfield during your college career. Where do you see yourself staying? Do you have experience at any other positions? Have the Mets given you an idea of what role they may assign you?

Vaughn: They haven't really said anything too much. I played center field this past year and my freshman and sophomore years I played right field. In high school I played third and a little bit of first base. Wherever they need me to play, I'm ready to go out there and compete.

Inside Pitch: To give our readers a little bit of an idea of what you look like out on the field, what big leaguer would you compare yourself to?

Vaughn: I'd probably say a hybrid between Derek Lee and Matt Kemp.

Inside Pitch: What was your favorite team and your favorite player growing up?

Vaughn: My favorite player was obviously my father, but if I had a second favorite player it'd be Derek Lee. He's from Sacramento and during the off-season we train and hit together. My favorite team I would say probably when I was in San Diego in 1998 when my father went to the World Series with the Padres against the Yankees. I have good memories from that.

Inside Pitch: You were teammates with Stephen Strasburg, who's making his much anticipated major league debut tonight, at San Diego State. What were your impressions of him when you guys were teammates?

Vaughn: Stephen is just an overall good dude, he competes and he gets after it. He probably has the dirtiest and nastiest stuff that I have ever seen. I had to face him in intrasquads in fall practices and he's pretty filthy. I'm looking forward to watching him tonight and I'm sure he'll go out there and do his thing.

Inside Pitch: What would you say is your best moment in baseball so far?

Vaughn: My best moment in baseball so far would probably be today. I can't ask for anything more.

Inside Pitch: As I'm sure you know, New York is known for its high intensity atmosphere. What do you think about the prospects of one day playing in New York?

Vaughn: I'm definitely looking forward to it. I don't think it's anything I can't handle so I should be fine.

Inside Pitch: What are your immediate plans now that you have been drafted by the Mets? Is it your intention to sign now and start your professional career immediately?

Vaughn: Oh yeah, definitely. I need to be out there. I don't want to sit out and hold out and miss part of the season because that's when guys get in trouble. They jump out halfway through the year and it takes them awhile to get going. So I need to get out there right away.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: Tell us what is going through your mind right now after being selected by a team like the New York Mets?
\r\n
\r\nCory Vaughn: It's probably the best thing I could ever ask for. I was sitting here waiting when I got the phone call and they said I'm going to be a New York Met, and I couldn't ask for anything more. To go from a 43rd rounder in high school to the 4th, and the opportunity to play for a great team like the Mets is just…I have no words that can even describe it. I'm very emotional today, excited, family is here, friends are here, so I couldn't ask for anything more.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Were you surprised it was the Mets that selected you? Did you and the Mets have any discussions leading up to the draft?
\r\n
\r\nVaughn: Actually, I was kind of surprised. I think I talked to their scout once after our conference tournament after our season ended. I filled out a little medical thing and a little questionnaire, and that was the only time I talked to them the whole year, so I was kind of caught by surprise because I talked to a lot of other teams before the draft a couple of times a week.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Do you have any ideas of what the Mets' organization or farm system is like?
\r\n
\r\nVaughn: No I don't. I have some buddies that actually played for the Brooklyn Cyclones, so that's the only squad I know.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: How do you feel your amateur days have prepared you for the jump to professional ball?
\r\n
\r\nVaughn: Going out from high school, I was very raw. I wasn't mature enough I think to go play pro ball. Going to college really allowed me to mature as a baseball player on the field and off the field. Working with coach Gwynn, coach Martinez, and all the coaches really helped my maturation. If I had to do it all over again I'd still go to San Diego State. I think it definitely prepared me for the road to come.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What was it like playing for a Hall of Famer like Tony Gwynn who had such an illustrious career in the big leagues?
\r\n
\r\nVaughn: It was amazing. He has so much knowledge. Working with him in the cages every day, just hearing it from a big leaguer, from a Hall of Famer, it was unbelievable. We were getting the knowledge that he learned in the big leagues at ages 18, 19 and 20 that half of the players don't learn until they're 25. I got to take bits and pieces of what he was telling me and apply it to my game, and it's all been working out so far.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Your father Greg played in the big leagues; what was it like growing up with a big league dad? Are there any similarities between his game and yours?
\r\n
\r\nVaughn: Growing up and having my father in the big leagues was amazing. I've been in major league ballparks since I was like 5, even since I was born actually. I remember running around the clubhouses when I was 5, 6, 7, all the way up until I was 14, my freshman year in high school. I got to see how it really works, how the game is supposed to be played, and the work ethic.
\r\n
\r\nSimilarities between me and my father…he tells me I'm my own player, I feel like I've come out of that shadow. In high school I was pressured a little bit, but as I've matured and grown up a little bit I actually don't think about that.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Did you have any expectations of where you may have gone in the draft? Did you have any range of rounds you anticipated being selected or did you just prepare to be drafted at any time?
\r\n
\r\nVaughn: I really had no expectations, but our pitching coach Eric Valenzuela heard that I was going to go after the 10th round, but I got the call in the 4th so I was really surprised.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Getting to your game, what areas do you think are the strongest? What areas will you focus on improving once your professional career begins?
\r\n
\r\nVaughn: I'd probably say my arm strength and baseball instincts, but you can improve everything. You don't ever perfect anything in this game. You just have to work hard and continue to work hard if you want to make it. I know I have a lot of work to do and I want to improve everything.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You played the outfield during your college career. Where do you see yourself staying? Do you have experience at any other positions? Have the Mets given you an idea of what role they may assign you?
\r\n
\r\nVaughn: They haven't really said anything too much. I played center field this past year and my freshman and sophomore years I played right field. In high school I played third and a little bit of first base. Wherever they need me to play, I'm ready to go out there and compete.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: To give our readers a little bit of an idea of what you look like out on the field, what big leaguer would you compare yourself to?
\r\n
\r\nVaughn: I'd probably say a hybrid between Derek Lee and Matt Kemp.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What was your favorite team and your favorite player growing up?
\r\n
\r\n\r\nVaughn: My favorite player was obviously my father, but if I had a second favorite player it'd be Derek Lee. He's from Sacramento and during the off-season we train and hit together. My favorite team I would say probably when I was in San Diego in 1998 when my father went to the World Series with the Padres against the Yankees. I have good memories from that.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You were teammates with Stephen Strasburg, who's making his much anticipated major league debut tonight, at San Diego State. What were your impressions of him when you guys were teammates?
\r\n
\r\nVaughn: Stephen is just an overall good dude, he competes and he gets after it. He probably has the dirtiest and nastiest stuff that I have ever seen. I had to face him in intrasquads in fall practices and he's pretty filthy. I'm looking forward to watching him tonight and I'm sure he'll go out there and do his thing.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What would you say is your best moment in baseball so far?
\r\n
\r\nVaughn: My best moment in baseball so far would probably be today. I can't ask for anything more.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: As I'm sure you know, New York is known for its high intensity atmosphere. What do you think about the prospects of one day playing in New York?
\r\n
\r\nVaughn: I'm definitely looking forward to it. I don't think it's anything I can't handle so I should be fine.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What are your immediate plans now that you have been drafted by the Mets? Is it your intention to sign now and start your professional career immediately?
\r\n
\r\nVaughn: Oh yeah, definitely. I need to be out there. I don't want to sit out and hold out and miss part of the season because that's when guys get in trouble. They jump out halfway through the year and it takes them awhile to get going. So I need to get out there right away.
\r\n
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