TODAY: Vaughn has been activated from the COVID-IL. Sheets has been optioned back to Triple-A as the corresponding move.
JUNE 3: The White Sox announced they’re placing corner outfielder/first baseman Andrew Vaughn on the injured list. First baseman/corner outfielder Gavin Sheets has been recalled from Triple-A Charlotte to replace him on the active roster.
Vaughn’s IL placement is related to the coronavirus, although the club didn’t announce whether he has tested positive or merely been exposed to the virus. “In compliance with MLB’s existing COVID-19 protocols, Andrew Vaughn has been placed on the injured list,” executive vice president/general manager Rick Hahn announced. “Andrew is currently asymptomatic and our hope is that, similar to our other IL placements of this nature, he will return shortly to the active roster. At this time, no other players on the roster are impacted.”
The Sox decided to break camp with Vaughn after Eloy Jiménez went down with a torn pectoral in Spring Training. He got out of the gates slowly- not an unexpected development for a player who had previously topped out at the High-A level- but Vaughn found a bit of a groove at the plate by the tail end of April. Altogether, he’s put up a roughly league average .226/.316/.394 line with four home runs over his first 158 MLB plate appearances.
Vaughn’s absence will lead to Sheets’ first big league chance. The 25-year-old was the Sox second-round pick out of Wake Forest in 2017, and he’s been a productive offensive player all the way up the minor league ladder. During his last full minor league season in 2019, Sheets hit .267/.345/.414 in an extremely pitcher-friendly environment at Double-A Birmingham. He’s followed that up with a very good start to his Triple-A career this season, compiling a .319/.360/.500 mark over his first 100 plate appearances with Charlotte. Baseball America ranked Sheets as the White Sox #12 prospect entering the year, praising his raw power and lofty minor league exit velocities.