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VAfan

Vaughn v. Sheets v. Burger v. Mercedes

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With the trade deadline coming up and the Sox in need  of an upgrade at 2nd base at least, the question arises as to who the Sox might be able to offer in trade.  I don't want them giving up any high-upside minor leaguers because we don't have that many left in the system.  Most of them have already graduated to the major league club or are here to fill in for injured players. 

That led me to write this little piece about 4 guys who have similar abilities.  All of them are hit-first players with limited defensive options.  All of them are rookies, which means it's an unknown which of them will be the best player in long run.  I think at this point, most of us would conclude Mercedes would come up last on this list, but I added him in anyway.

1. Andrew Vaughn.  6' 215 lbs, 23 yrs, 98 days.  3rd pick of first round of 2019 draft.

vs RHP 69   176 159 18 35 8 0 3 12 1 0 9 46 .220 .267 .327 .594 52 3 3 0 5 0 6 .278 61 67
vs LHP 42   87 74 18 23 10 0 5 10 0 0 12 21 .311 .414 .649 1.062 48 2 1 0 0 0 1 .375 182 189

Rakes against lefties.  Still finding his way against right handed pitchers.  

Was brought up to be a DH/1B, but he was thrown into left field when Eloy got hurt and Yermin was hitting, and has done quite well.  Likely to be able to remain an outfielder for foreseeable future, with Eloy coming back to DH and Abreu entrenched at 1B.  Has played some 3B in spring training, but is not likely to be more than an emergency option there.  Has a strong enough arm to play RF. 

2. Gavin Sheets.  6'5", 230 lbs. 25 yrs, 78 days.  2nd round of 2017 draft.

vs RHP 10   33 26 5 9 3 0 3 9 0 0 6 3 .346 .455 .808 1.262 21 1 0 0 1 0 0 .286 148 247
vs LHP 5   7 7   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 -100 -100

Rakes against righties, in limited action.  Complete zero against lefties in 7 career ABs.  

Sox let him compete against Vaughn in Spring Training for the DH slot, but I'm not sure it was ever a fair deal.  They brought him up as other guys got hurt and Mercedes went down to AAA, and he's done very well to start.  He's even tried playing RF to find a position other than DH/1B.  Probably not as good as Vaughn has been in the outfield, but he also hasn't had much of a chance to show improvement there.  Could he have a role as a platoon partner with Vaughn?  

3. Jake Burger. 6'2", 230 lbs.  25 yrs, 91 days.  11th pick of 1st round of 2017 draft

vs RHP 5   12 12 2 6 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 3 .500 .500 .833 1.333 10 2 0 0 0 0 1 .667 186 268
vs LHP 5   7 6   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 .000 .143 .000 .143 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 -61 -55

In the minors, he was crushing lefties, but he hasn't done so here in only 7 ABs.  Way too early to draw any conclusions about his ML bat.  Plays 3B, and has made some good plays over there.  Was tried at 2B in the minors after Madrigal got hurt, but so far TLR hasn't used him there.  Could also be another 1B/DH option, and might even be able to learn the outfield.  As a 3B, his arm strength must be good enough to play either corner outfield spot.  

4. Yermin Mercedes.  5'11", 245 lbs.  28 yrs, 146 days.  Minor league Rule 5 draft pickup. 

vs RHP 64   192 175 17 43 5 0 5 26 0 1 15 40 .246 .307 .360 .667 63 7 1 0 1 0 3 .290 83 88
vs LHP 34   70 65 9 22 4 1 2 11 0 0 5 6 .338 .386 .523 .909 34 0 0 0 0 1 2 .351 147

149

Obviously hits lefties much better than righties.  But that's not the whole story. Need to also provide his early and later splits.

April/March 22 21 88 82 10 34 5 0 5 16 0 1 6 12 .415 .455 .659 1.113 54 1 0 0 0 1 1 .446 202 217
May 28 25 106 95 9 21 2 1 2 14 0 0 9 20 .221 .292 .326 .619 31 4 1 0 1 0 1 .257 70 75
June 18 16 68 63 7 10 2 0 0 7 0 0 5 14 .159 .221 .190 .411 12 2 0 0 0 0 3 .204 14 

Through April, he was raking.  In May, over 28 games, he was hurting the team.  And in June, he was worse than useless.  TLR gave him a long rope, but Yermin unfortunately hung himself with it.  

WHICH OF THESE GUYS WOULD YOU KEEP?  WHO WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO TRADE? AND WHY? 

These are the questions I would ask myself if I were Rick Hahn.  Let's take them one at a time.

1.  Yermin.  I would be willing to trade Yermin in a heartbeat, but I don't think he has much if any trade value at this point.  He would first have to reestablish his ability to hit at the major league level, and there is no reason for the Sox to bring him back up if they aren't going to use him as a backup catcher.  Everyone would take Vaughn, Sheets, and Burger ahead of him at DH at this point, and in 3 weeks, Eloy will be back.  So Yermin may have already had his cup of coffee so to speak.  You could bring him back when rosters are expanded to 28 in September as a pinch hitter against lefties.  But I don't expect him to ever get the extended chance to prove himself at the major league level for the Sox.  It's too bad.  The Yerminator helped save the team offense in April. 

2. Vaughn.  As the 3rd pick in the 2019 draft, and the youngest of these guys by 2 full years, Vaughn is going to get every chance to try to become a star for the White Sox.  There was so many in the offseason suggesting he get traded for a starting pitcher or any number of guys, and if you read stuff today, some writers have him going to Pittsburgh as part of an Adam Frazier deal.  He's not going anywhere.  Being able to play the outfield has made him much more useful because no one wants to see Eloy risk further injury in LF once he returns. 

But Vaughn is not a complete player yet.  His splits against right handers so far are BAD, even though he's had twice as many ABs against them as against lefties.  So it's not yet a matter of not having enough opportunities to get better.  Everyone expects improvement there, but it may take some time. 

3. Sheets.  Sheets seems the next most valuable guy behind Vaughn at this point, mostly because a left hander with power and the Sox are badly in need of that.  Grandal has 10 of his 14 HRs batting lefty, but his OPS+ is much higher as a right hander (194) than as a lefty (111).   Yoan Moncada hits better as a lefty (131 OPS+) than as a righty (104 OPS+), but only has 5 HRs as a lefty in 239 plate appearances.  Sheets has 3 HR in 33 PAs against righties.  

The issue for Sheets is where will he play?  Until Eloy returns, he's a logical platoon guy at DH.  But does he play LF well enough to platoon with Vaughn once Eloy is back and hogging all the DH ABs?   This may not be a perfect role for Sheets, but at least it's a role. And the hitting side of it against right handers looks strong enough to be worth keeping. 

4. Burger.  We haven't really seen enough of Burger to have a sense of his potential.  But he's had an amazing year considering how long his multiple injuries kept him away from baseball. He didn't get to play in the alternate site last year, having to make due with much lower competition.  He's also playing a position with an entrenched but young vet in Yoan Moncada who plays gold glove defense at 3B and is a switch hitter offering very little in the way of playing opportunities.  

So you would have to think Burger is the mostly likely guy to trade of this group.  

Even so, I would have to wonder if he didn't get hurt if the Sox might never have drafted Andrew Vaughn.  Burger was drafted as hit-first player in the first round, only 8 slots behind Vaughn.  Here is his Charlotte line.

2021 25 -1.8 Charlotte AAAE AAA CHW 42 185 171 29 55 15 1 10 36 0 0 12 45 .322 .368 .596 .964 102 4 1 0 1 1

10 HRs and a .964 OPS coming off years of inactivity look very good. They were also better than Gavin Sheets' numbers in Charlotte.

2021 25 -1.8 Charlotte AAAE AAA CHW 41 176 161 23 47 8 0 7 33 1 0 15 35 .292 .352 .472 .824 76 1 0 0 0 0

Doesn't Burger look like the better hitter?  He's also looks a bit more well-rounded in his splits.  

CONCLUSION

We really don't know enough at this point about the major league trajectories of these players.  We can write off Yermin because he has no positional value and he's not supplanting Eloy at DH.  But what about the other 3? 

Logic says trade Burger because he's been injured a lot, has no obvious position to play, and probably has more trade value than anyone but Vaughn.  I just wonder if he might become the best hitter of all of them.  You have to like Vaughn because of his youth, but it's no guarantee he will be better in the long run. 

So, I would probably trade Burger, but not for a 2021 rental.  He has too much upside to his game.  With Yoan in year-2 of his power decline, when will we see 25-HR Moncada again? Is he still feeling the effects of Covid?  Burger likely has more power right now than Yoan. 

I would keep Sheets for now as a platoon partner for Vaughn.  But he wouldn't be untouchable.  For the right offer, I would trade him. 

Overall, it's an interesting group of young players.  

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In terms of what kind of return I would expect in a trade, I'd put Vaughn and Sheets in Tier 1, Burger in Tier 2 and Mercedes in Tier 3.

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It's Vaughn, and then every one else.

Also it isn't particularly close.

 

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Vaughn is untouchable IMO.  He’s put up a 199 wRC+ against RHP over the past two weeks (31 PA) and his K rate has been cut in half during this stretch (26% before, 13% during).  SSS no doubt, but it’s clear he’s starting to figure them out and is becoming an absolute monster with the bat.  Throw in the fact he can play a passable LF and you have a middle of the order fixture for the next five years.  He ain’t going anywhere.

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There is no world where burger takes over for Moncada, power outage or not.  Burger is trade bait, which is a nice bonus.

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Vaughn is the keeper of the bunch, and its pretty silly to even group him with the other three.  Burger and Sheets are worth hanging on to until the right deal comes along.  Yermin is a flash in the pan until he proves otherwise at this point, and that hardly brings back anything in trade.  

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Just my opinion but Eloy/Vaughn/Sheets make a nice 1B/LF/DH combo. It all matters on what they're doing with Abreu after his current deal expires. 

If they're keeping Abreu, Sheets is trade bait. 

Tbh I'd just sell high on Burger/Sheets. 

Not sure Mercedes has any value other than a sweetener. 

Edited by Jack Parkman
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Vaughn isn't getting dealt.

Burger was an early first rounder, is known to have a great hit tool, and Lord knows you can't question his heart.  He's certainly trade bait but I think we would have to be overwhelmed to deal him this season.  While there's no obvious position for him to play, be it now or in the near future, I think we'd be selling very low on him right now (AAA stint excluded).  

Sheets could grow into the piece we've needed since Jim Thome left, a power hitting LH bat.  I like that he's apparently getting coached up by his dad and Cal Ripken, makes contact, and seems to have a decent eye.  He could grow into a player but in a deal for a true impact player (not a rental), he's trade bait.  I'd hesitate dealing him for a 3 month rental.

Mercedes.  No one will want him.  

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Can't see them trading Vaughn, but the other 3 could be traded for the right price, although I think trading Burger may come back to bite as he looks to be potentially the best hitter, his lack of positions limits his options with the White Sox. Mercedes value is the lowest as he essentially has no position other than a DH and those last few weeks were painful to watch.

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This is an exceptionally well-done write-up by VAfan and I agree with his conclusions.  True to my nature I hope we keep all of them primarily because we would be selling low on the top 3 candidates IMO and Mercedes just has deal sweetener value at least until NL approves the DH.  Anyone can be traded for the right deal but I would want real difference makers in return.

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I just watched Vaughn play another sure fly ball out into a bloop single.  He is too slow to play anything but first base. Same with Sheets.

Burger can play 3B but he is blocked by Moncada.   Unless you become infatuated with a player as a fan, you realize that any player can be traded for the right return. 

Personally, I would not turn down Rutschman for Vaughn, Collins and Sheets and I am sure there are trades others would agree to.

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4 hours ago, Jack Parkman said:

Just my opinion but Eloy/Vaughn/Sheets make a nice 1B/LF/DH combo. It all matters on what they're doing with Abreu after his current deal expires. 

 

 

That's a very nice rotation and will keep legs fresh.  

I wonder if Jose would be open to coaching in some capacity to keep him around the dugout and players that love him?  

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Posted (edited)

Vaughn is available for Reynolds imo because the difference in team control is only 1 year. Reynolds is more defensively versatile, is almost as good as Vaughn's ceiling is a switch hitter. 

Edited by Jack Parkman
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I think if Burger keeps playing like he is, defensively AND with the bat, the Sox should keep him. He's playing great defense at 3B. Try him at 2B and keep your guys. I know it's really early and it's a risk, and there isn't much time left to make trade decisions, but they've made it this far without outside additions. Eloy and Robert are coming back soon too, which helps a lot.

And if Burger doesn't work at 2B (different set of athletic skills needed for that position), I know many people would hate this, but it used to be Moncada's primary position. I know Moncada is better when he needs to get rid of the ball quickly and make quick movements on plays, but maybe he's grown to the point where he'd play 2B well. Then you could move Burger to 3B where we have seen that he can hold his own and more over at the hot corner.

 

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12 hours ago, Chicago White Sox said:

Vaughn is untouchable IMO.  He’s put up a 199 wRC+ against RHP over the past two weeks (31 PA) and his K rate has been cut in half during this stretch (26% before, 13% during).  SSS no doubt, but it’s clear he’s starting to figure them out and is becoming an absolute monster with the bat.  Throw in the fact he can play a passable LF and you have a middle of the order fixture for the next five years.  He ain’t going anywhere.

Let’s see how he does during the tough stretch coming up with much better RHP on .500+ teams. Hopefully the recent success is sustainable.

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I disagree somewhat with what appears to be a consensus here. I think Burger is the best natural hitter of the four. Vaughn will be a solid MLB player, but he's not there yet. Mercedes was fun in April, but there probably was a reason he didn't make the majors until he was 28.  I've never thought highly of Sheets, and despite some early offensive success with the Sox, I still don't. I could be wrong, but I don't think Sheets will ever be a quality MLB player.

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4 hours ago, Jerry McNertney said:

I disagree somewhat with what appears to be a consensus here. I think Burger is the best natural hitter of the four. Vaughn will be a solid MLB player, but he's not there yet. Mercedes was fun in April, but there probably was a reason he didn't make the majors until he was 28.  I've never thought highly of Sheets, and despite some early offensive success with the Sox, I still don't. I could be wrong, but I don't think Sheets will ever be a quality MLB player.

Completely agree except on Vaughn.  
 

I’d put Vaughn & Burger in the same top tier of possibly being elite natural hitters.  
 

If they approach their ceilings, I think you can see them both being pretty easy .900 OPS guys getting there in slightly different styles.

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Vaughn shouldn’t be a part of this. 

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Posted (edited)

Yermin is not bringing any kind of return more than a bag of balls 

Edited by Soxfest

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Sox aren't trading for a 2b.   Only Mercedes will be available from those 4.  They need another pen arm.

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Vaughn’s going to be a perennial .280 + hitter, high obp, 25-35 homers guy. Can’t wait to see him mash for the next decade.

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2 minutes ago, ShoeLessRob said:

Vaughn’s going to be a perennial .280 + hitter, high obp, 25-35 homers guy. Can’t wait to see him mash for the next decade.

At least .280 +, at least and with the 25 to 35 homers.

Any talk of trading Vaughn is insane. With all the great bats in the Sox line up, I think Vaughn will quickly become THE bat in the line up, more than Eloy, more than Robert, beyond Anderson, anyone. 

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9 minutes ago, ShoeLessRob said:

Vaughn’s going to be a perennial .280 + hitter, high obp, 25-35 homers guy. Can’t wait to see him mash for the next decade.

He has a Paul Konerko vibe.  Professional hitter.

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7 hours ago, Jerry McNertney said:

I disagree somewhat with what appears to be a consensus here. I think Burger is the best natural hitter of the four. Vaughn will be a solid MLB player, but he's not there yet. Mercedes was fun in April, but there probably was a reason he didn't make the majors until he was 28.  I've never thought highly of Sheets, and despite some early offensive success with the Sox, I still don't. I could be wrong, but I don't think Sheets will ever be a quality MLB player.

Vaughn is the best natural hitter and it's not remotely close. He's going to be the best hitter on this team most likely.

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49 minutes ago, southsider2k5 said:

He has a Paul Konerko vibe.  Professional hitter.

A Konerko who can play a passable LF too. Leaves 1B for a few years of Abreu. 

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