Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Rashun Dixon, OF

Kane County OF Rashun Dixon is a unique talent. A two-sport star in high school, Dixon turned down a football scholarship to Mississippi State to sign with the Oakland A's in 2008. Dixon then turned heads in the Arizona Rookie League by flashing a powerful bat and speed on the bases. Dixon struggled last year in Vancouver, but is off to a fast start with Kane County. David Malamut spoke to Dixon.

David Malamut: How was your spring training?

Rashun Dixon: Pretty good. Worked on some stuff. Worked on getting the ball deeper and seeing some more pitches, taking walks instead of getting base hits, so it was pretty good.

DM: You were recruited to play football. Why did you choose baseball instead?

RD: There was more opportunity to play baseball. Both of my brothers are playing football, so I figured I would let them have that, so I went for baseball.

DM: Longer career?

RD: Maybe. I wasn't really thinking about that. I grew up playing more baseball than football, so I ended up choosing baseball.

DM: What was draft day like?

RD: Actually it wasn't too bad. I was playing baseball when I got drafted. Somebody from the A's called me after my game, and that's how I found out.

DM: What's your approach at the plate?

RD: I'm letting the ball get deeper, seeing more pitches, laying off of balls in the dirt. Just trying to stay soft with everything and drive the ball.

DM: What are your goals for the season?

RD: Play as many games as I can. I was hurting last year. I missed about 25-30 games. I just want to try to play in every game I can play in.

DM: What do you think you need to work on offensively?

RD: Hitting breaking pitches, letting them get deeper and not giving up on them. Other than that just the outside part of the plate in general. Just letting the ball get deep, taking the ball the other way, not pulling off of pitches.

DM: Defensively?

RD: I feel like I'm pretty fine defensively, but I feel like I can work on my throws to the bases a little bit more. Sometimes they are inconsistent. I would just have to say throwing to the bases.

DM: If you had gone to college what would you have majored in?

RD: Probably business and entrepreneurship.

DM: Do you plan on going to college?

RD: I'm not sure yet. I've been thinking about it. I might go this off-season. I haven't given it too much thought. I'm trying to focus on baseball right now.

DM: What did you learn from playing in Arizona?

RD: The ball travels, on defense and at the plate. You drive the ball good and it's going to travel. Get some good backspin it's usually going to travel pretty good.

DM: You have played all three outfield positions. Which one do you like the best, and what is the difference in them?

RD: I like left field because I have played more games in left than I have played anywhere else. I played like 50 in Rookie ball in centerfield and like 80 in total in left. I would have to say left field is more comfortable. It might end up being in right field because that is where I've been playing. Probably the most difficult thing is the ball off of the bat. At each position it comes off a different way, so it takes getting your reads in BP to get to learn how the ball comes off.

DM: Does playing all of the other positions help you in right field?

RD: It does a little bit. Sometimes you get a lefty up. He likes to get inside the ball pretty good. Usually his ball, if you're in right field it would travel to the centerfield gap, and in left field it kind of helps if he stays inside the ball pretty good it would travel towards the line, so yeah it does help.

DM: What did you learn from playing in Vancouver?

RD: Trying to play every game that I can. I didn't get a lot of ABs last year. I was hurt. I missed a lot of games. I'm just trying to stay healthy and play as many games as I can to get some more experience.

DM: How was playing in Canada?

RD: It was actually pretty nice. We had a nice summer last year, got some good weather. I think we only had one bad day where we got rained out. Other than that i liked the fans, they were real nice and into the game, so it was pretty cool.

DM: How do you like the Midwest League?

RD: I like it so far. Not any of those long Northwest League bus rides, so it's working out pretty good so far.

DM: What is your off-season training like?

RD: I worked out with football players getting ready for the draft in Atlanta. It was pretty tough. I worked out from about 10 in the morning until about 1 in the afternoon. Did some yoga on Wednesdays and Saturdays. So it was pretty tough. I had some good trainers and some good guys to work out with. It was pretty nice.

DM: When did you start taking swings?

RD: Honestly I started taking swings the week I got back from Instructs. I hit the whole off-season because I knew that is what I had to work on. I knew that didn't do good last year, so I was just working on my swing and my approach, my plan at the plate, trying to get everything ready for spring training.

DM: What else have you played besides baseball and football?

RD: I played basketball in high school for one year, but I had to give it up because basketball was cutting into baseball season, and i knew I didn't have a chance to play in the NBA so I gave that up.

DM: What was being scouted like?

RD: It was not to fun at all. I had 13-14 scouts at a game sometimes, and people knew they were there watching me, so it just felt like all the eyes were on me. Some people didn't like it. Some people liked it, so they can get a look at themselves. It was kind of hectic.

DM: Who has been the biggest influence in your career?

RD: My family, three brothers and my mom and dad. They all played sports. Mom ran track, my dad pro ball for the Mets, and all three of my brothers played baseball too, so it was just competition all the time. They were my biggest influence.

DM: Did any of that help you going into to pro ball, knowing what to expect?

RD: My dad gave me some pointers. He told me about what would happen, waking up at six o'clock, getting ready for spring training or extended spring training. Just the long days, the food you had to eat, the bus rides, all of that. Yeah he gave me some pointers, what I needed to do, and what I didn't need to do.

DM: What's in your iPod?

RD: Everything, I have a little mix of everything: rap, rock, country, pop, blues, jazz and everything I got it.

DM: Coming out of high school, do you think you were ready for pro ball?

RD: I thought I was. I didn't really know because I didn't really get to play in the summer because i had elbow surgery before the start of my senior season, so I didn't really know but I felt like I was ready, because it was either that or go to college and play football, and it ended up being baseball.

DM: Surgery on your throwing arm?

RD: I had surgery on my right elbow. I had arthroscopic surgery, wasn't anything major.

DM: Besides baseball what else do you like to do?

RD: I like to sleep, I'm a big sleeper. I actually like to draw too. I took about 3-4 years of art in high school, so I'm a big drawer. Anything athletic, going to the gym working out. I actually went and worked out on our off-day yesterday (4/26). Anything that can keep me active without making me tired, that'll work too.

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