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Indians excited to draft Washington

Indians excited to draft Washington

CLEVELAND -- Indians director of amateur scouting Brad Grant doesn't know why the Rays didn't sign LeVon Washington after taking him with the 30th pick of last June's First-Year Player Draft. He's just glad they didn't.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Tribe nabbed Washington, a speedy center fielder out of Chipola Junior College, in the second round of this year's Draft, making him the 55th overall selection.

Draft Central

"LeVon is an athletic, high-upside center fielder," Grant said. "He's a left-handed bat with an advanced approach to hitting, so there's good natural bat speed and a very disciplined approach. He's a well above-average runner."

Grant declined to discuss Cleveland's chances of signing Washington -- a Scott Boras client -- and all other Indians draftees at this point. SI.com reported Tuesday that the Tribe had come to terms with Washington, but Grant said that no contracts have been signed.

"We don't have any deals in place with the players we took today," Grant said. "I'm not going to comment on the negotiations and where we are with negotiations, nor am I going to comment on them during the course of the summer. Once we get players signed, we'll comment on them then."

A second baseman in high school, Washington made the transition to center field this year in junior college. He underwent labrum surgery after sustaining an injury during his senior year at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, Fla., but Grant said Washington's right shoulder is no longer an issue.

Washington hit .327 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 41 games for Chipola this season.

"He's a leadoff-type bat, but he also has power, too," Grant said. "He's got the ability to pull the ball out of the ballpark and drive balls into the gaps. He's a good, advanced junior college hitter. There's a lot of upside to LeVon, [and] that's the exciting part about him. He's an athlete with two things that you can't teach: above-average bat speed and the ability to run."

Grant stressed that, despite Tampa Bay's inability to sign Washington last year, character is not a concern with the 18-year-old.

"LeVon's a good kid. We've known him since high school," Grant said. "We're very comfortable with LeVon and are looking forward to him taking advantage of an opportunity here."

That opportunity could lead to Washington one day patrolling center field at Progressive Field.

"With his ability to cover gaps and track down balls," Grant said, "he has a chance to be an above-average center fielder."

Round 3, Tony Wolters, SS, Rancho Buena Vista HS (Calif.): Perhaps the best overall player of the entire 2010 Draft class, according to BaseballRumorMill.com, Wolters has the tools to play both second base and shortstop. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound AFLAC All-American has verbally committed to attend the University of San Diego. "He's a very good athlete with very good instincts for the game," Grant said. "He's a baseball rat."

Round 4, Kyle Blair, RHP, University of San Diego: Blair posted an 8-4 record and 2.84 ERA in 15 starts for the Toreros in 2010. He relies on location and deception rather than power.

Round 5, Cole Cook, RHP, Pepperdine University: A 2007 Draft choice by the Mariners, Cook went 5-6 with a 2.93 ERA over 14 appearances (13 starts) with the Waves this season. The 6-foot-6, 210-pound hurler yielded just three home runs in 104 1/3 innings of work.

Round 6, Nicholas Bartolone, SS, Chabot College: Bartolone has committed to play at California State University Bakersfield, which begins its first season at the Division I level in 2011. Said CSUB coach Bill Kernen of Bartolone: "Nick is a prime time shortstop with speed, athleticism and a 'ballplayer' mentality."

Round 7, Robbie Aviles, RHP, Suffern HS (N.Y.): Aviles, whose father played in the Minor Leagues, ranks as the top prospect from the state of New York. He is currently sidelined by torn ligaments in his elbow.

Round 8, Alex Lavisky, C, St. Edward HS (Ohio): A Cleveland native, Lavisky batted .450 (36-for-80) with 13 home runs and 40 RBIs this season for the 2010 OHSAA Division I State Champions. He has verbally committed to attend Georgia Tech.

Round 9, Jordan Cooper, RHP, Wichita State University: Cooper, a 17th-round selection by the Red Sox in 2008, compiled a 10-3 record with a 2.01 ERA in 15 starts for the Shockers this year.

Round 10, Tyler Holt, CF, Florida State University: Holt led the Seminoles with a .349 average and .465 on-base percentage in 2010.

Round 11, Hunter Jones, LF, Lakewood HS (Calif.): Jones is the son of former Major League outfielder Tracy Jones, who played six seasons with the Reds, Expos, Giants, Tigers and Mariners.

Round 12, Tyler Cannon, 3B, University of Virginia: A 41st-round selection by the Pirates last year, Cannon earned First Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors this season.

Round 13, Michael Goodnight, RHP, University of Houston: The Indians also used a 2008 Draft pick on Goodnight, who features a fastball in the 92-94 mph range.

Round 14, Diego Seastrunk, C, Rice University: Seastrunk hit .369 with nine home runs and 52 RBIs in 51 games for the Owls in 2010.

Round 15, Ben Holmes, LHP, Clackamas HS (Ore.): Holmes dominated opposing hitters to the tune of an 0.33 ERA in his senior year.

Round 16, Cody Allen, RHP, St. Petersburg College: Allen underwent Tommy John surgery in January 2009 before returning to the mound this season.

Round 17, Aaron Siliga, LF, Oceanside HS (Calif.): Siliga batted .505 with 15 home runs and 19 steals in 2010.

Round 18, Chase Burnette, 1B, Georgia Tech: Burnette boasted a .356 average, 17 home runs and 66 RBIs in 62 games for the Yellow Jackets this year.

Round 19, Mark Brown, CF, Martin Luther King HS (Mich.): Brown, who swiped 40 bases during his junior season in 2009, has drawn comparisons to Juan Pierre. He has committed to attend the University of Kansas.

Round 20, Burch Smith, RHP, Howard College: The Tribe also selected Smith last year, but did not sign him. He plans to play at the University of Oklahoma.

Round 21, Owen Dew, RHP, University of Central Florida: Dew led the Knights with 73 1/3 innings pitched in 2010.

Round 22, Nate Striz, RHP, University of North Carolina: Striz logged 13 appearances out of the bullpen for the Tar Heels this season.

Round 23, Anthony Dischler, RHP, Louisiana State University-Eunice: Dischler went 9-3 with a 3.29 ERA in 18 appearances (15 starts) for the Bengals this year, notching a pair of complete games.

Round 24, Andrew Triggs, RHP, University of Southern California: Triggs, who has undergone Tommy John surgery, features a sinker that has garnered comparisons to that of Brandon Webb.

Round 25, Jeff Gause, RHP, West Brunswick HS (N.C.): Gause, who relies on a power fastball, has committed to attend North Carolina State University.

Round 26, Edward Lively, RHP, Gulf Breeze HS (Fla.): Lively plans to play at the University of Central Florida. He boasts a four-pitch arsenal including a fastball, changeup, curveball and slider.

Round 27, Jeff Schaus, LF, Clemson University: Schaus hit .313 with 15 home runs and a team-leading 80 RBIs in 63 games for the Tigers in 2010.

Round 28, Demarcus Tidwell, OF, Yavapai College: Considered one of the top players in the junior college ranks, Tidwell has plus speed and athleticism.

Round 29, Kirby Bellow, LHP, Nederland HS (Tex.): Bellow has committed to play at the University of Texas.

Round 30, Taylor Hill, RHP, Vanderbilt University: Hill went 6-5 with a 4.15 ERA in 19 appearances (16 starts) for the Commodores this season.

John Barone is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["first-year_player_draft" ] }
{"content":["first-year_player_draft" ] }