Sunday, February 20, 2011
Prospect Profile: LeVon Washington
Profile: 5'11" - 170lbs - BT:L - TH:R - 2011 Age: 20
• Hit: 30-60
• Power: 25-45
• Eye: 35-60
• Range: 50-65
• Hands: 50-65
• Arm: 35-40
• Run: 65-70
Washington is what I like to call a toolshed - a player who has all the physical attributes to be an all-star caliber player, yet lacks the refinement to have turned those tools into quantifiable skills. The reason we love toolshed players like Washington is because they have 'outs'. If the power doesn't develop, that's ok because he can still get on base. If the arm isn't there its ok because he can still run down more balls than another guy. It makes them more likely to reach the Majors, even if they end up not turning all of those tools into skills.
The Rays certainly loved what they saw of him coming out of high school as they took him 30th overall in the 2009 draft but under the advice of Scott Boras decided not to sign, instead going to Florida where he would end up being academically ineligible.
He'd end up going to junior college and raked to the tune of a 1.007 OPS with strong numbers across the board. Finally he signed with the Indians as the 55th overall pick in 2010. The decision to go to school didn't end up costing him much however as the Indians went well over slot and signed him for 1.2m, about 100k more than the Rays had reportedly offered the year before. Unfortunately he signed too late to get anything more than a handful of at-bats for the Indians.
Defensively Washington has the speed and range to profile as a center fielder, however like the Twins Ben Revere, his arm which is his one well below average tool, would probably play better in left field. He has good instincts in the outfield and seems to get good jumps on balls hit his way, though like many young outfielders struggles somewhat going back on balls and he'll occasionally take a poor route to a ball. Still, that's hardly unexpected at this point and long-term he should fit well as an above average defender in either center or left field.
At the plate Washington has a lot of the skills you look for out of a player with his frame - quick hands, an ability to make consistent contact, and high-end speed. Perhaps just as importantly, he shows an advanced feel for his plate appearances and you can count on him to give you a consistent professional at-bat. He's still going to need work in that department in the long-term, but I think his profile works brilliantly for a leadoff hitter. That's especially true because I have more doubts about his power than I think most do. Still, I could see 10-15 home run power (higher than my grade) if everything breaks right.
The upside would be a .270/.350/.390 bat with 20-30 steal speed and plus defense. I like that package a lot. It's not an ideal bat, but a .350 OBP and plus speed would slot him into plenty of leadoff roles around the league. The great thing about Washington is that my projection will shoot up with strong performances in A and AA ball, and he's got the tools to make it happen.
Corey Ettinger is a proud contributor to both 612Sports.net, 312Sports.com, and 313sports.com. He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Coreyettinger for the latest updates, random thoughts and general tomfoolery.