Dixon's Potential Sky High

When Rashun Dixon debuted in the Arizona Rookie League in 2008, he wowed scouts and coaches with his premier athleticism. That athleticism runs in his family and allowed Dixon to be a two-sport star in high school. While Dixon struggled in 2009 with short-season Vancouver, A's coaches see big things ahead for the former all-state football star. Jeff Roper profiles Dixon inside...

It's no secret that football is king in the Deep South. Many Southeastern Conference fans can rattle off the incoming recruiting class for their favorite team faster than they could recall the names of their neighbors.

With older brother Anthony in the process of shattering records at Mississippi State, Rashun Dixon signed a letter of intent to join the Bulldogs' Class of 2008. But, the same skills that earned him a three-star rating on the football field and second-team all-state caught the eye of the Oakland Athletics.

"[Rashun] is a young, physically mature and also a fine kid that projects well," Vancouver Canadians manager Rick Magnante said.

"He has all the tools to be a big-league prospect."

Mississippi's "Mr. Baseball" for 2008, Dixon was drafted in the 10th round of that year's draft after notching a .514 average with 14 home runs and 59 RBI. Dixon made an immediate impact in the Arizona Rookie League, hitting .263 with eight home runs, but he hit a wall in 2009, when his average dropped to .214 and his OPS dropped from 853 to 581.

"He had a good year in the rookie league, dominant even," Magnante said.

"He came up to the Northwest League which is faster, more skilled pitchers who exploited him a bit with some breaking balls. His play was aggressive, he kept his head up and a worked through it."

Indeed, he did.

After hitting a paltry .227 in June and .174 in July, Dixon found his groove in August, finishing the month with .258 average.

Magnante believes that trend will continue.

"He was a two-sport athlete coming out of Mississippi and has never really gotten to focus solely on baseball," Magnante said.

"There's always a higher learning curve for two-sport athletes."

Dixon participated in the Instructional Leagues and was named top position player in camp. His struggles with Vancouver came primarily on breaking balls, but A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman told Scout.com shortly after the camp that the 19-year-old had made a noticeable improvement.

"Offensively, he was much, much better. A much better grasp of the strike-zone and of being able to handle breaking balls," Lieppman said.

"For the most part, he covered up those holes and started getting on top of the fastball. He has a nice ability to go to the opposite field. He did a lot of things well."

Dixon was recently ranked the A's No. 28 prospect by Scout.com. Standing 6'2'' and 210 pounds, Dixon has a powerful swing from the right side of the plate and above-average speed. The A's farm system is stacked with outfield prospects, so Dixon will benefit from not being rushed, allowing him time to develop more patience at the plate.

Dixon will likely spend another season in the Northwest League, although his performance this spring could change that.

"There's no real urgency to move him up and nothing wrong with him spending another year in the Northwest League," Magnante said.

"Needs to work on his hitting. [He has] good overall athleticism, raw power, hits well for a big guy, his defense is solid. Just needs to develop his ability to hit. His power potential won't be realized until then and that will only happen with more experience and seasoning."

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