As the baseball season winds down, so does the series ‘Top Minor League Hitters in Milwaukee Brewers History.’ Today’s post features a player who would be recognized for the season following this one as well, ranking him at number 15.
Greg Vaughn put together four outstanding seasons in the minors and that would lead him to the major leagues, where he played for 15 years with five different clubs, including eight campaigns with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Sacramento, California native was drafted by the Brewers in the first round (4th overall) in the 1986 MLB June Amateur Draft (Secondary Phase). Vaughn was actually drafted four times before he signed with the Brewers out of the University of Miami in June 1986.
Vaughn reported to short-season Helena in the rookie Pioneer League and impressed there, slashing .291/.363/.543 in 300 trips to the plate. He tied for the league lead with 16 home runs and placed in the top five in runs scored (64), RBI (56), stolen bases (23), and slugging percentage (.543). That would be good enough for a promotion to the Class A Midwest League, where he would put together a season that would nearly top the charts for all-time best seasons by a Milwaukee Brewers farmhand.
#2 Greg Vaughn, 1987 Beloit (A)
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The Beloit Brewers played at Harry C. Pohlman Field at Telfer Park, which favored hitters slightly, but not much. Vaughn would earn bonus rating points for being a year younger than MWL average. Although the numbers might not jump off the chart shown above, my ranking system also awarded points for runs scored and stolen bases. Vaughn had the most steals of anyone in this Top 25 ranking, and it helped him earn the runner-up spot.
Beloit finished the season with a 76-64 mark and qualified as the the number three seed in the playoffs. However, their season ended with a loss (2 games to one) to eventual league champion Kenosha.
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Vaughn earned the co-MVP award, tying with Springfield catcher Todd Zeile. The Beloit star was also named to the post-season MWL All-Star team.
He led the league in runs scored (120), homers (33), slugging percentage (.593), total bases (292), and OPS (1.018). His 36 steals ranked sixth in the league, making him the only 30-30 player in the loop that year.
Vaughn was promoted to Class AA El Paso in 1988 and then on to Class AAA Denver the following year, where he earned a call-up to Milwaukee after just 110 games in the Mile High City. Vaughn doubled in his first major league at bat on August 11, 1989 and went on to play eight seasons for the Brewers before being traded to San Diego on July 31, 1996.
He would go on to play with Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, and Colorado. Vaughn was a four-time All-Star and finished in the top five of MVP voting in 1998 and 1999.
Vaughn’s son Cory Vaughn is an outfielder in the New York Mets organization.