UNIVERSITY PARK — The State College Spikes’ big first basemen is soft spoken and lets his bat do the talking.
Standing at 6-foot-5, David Washington is having the best year of his career at the plate and is continuing to cash in with production.
A 15th round selection by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2009 amateur entry draft, Washington has already set club records for runs batted in and home runs in a single season with 47 and 10 respectively.
Those numbers are through 63 games and there are still 11 regular season games remaining on the Spikes schedule. With that in mind, Washington’s numbers are reflective of the dedication and hard work that he puts in off of the field.
“Work ethic is the right key there,” State College manager Oliver Marmol said. “This kid has stuck to a routine all year and he’s as consistent as you can possibly be when it comes to being in that (batting) cage and making sure that he’s doing the things that are going to allow him to have success, and he’s carrying it out onto the field. His work ethic is unbelievable, I think he’s going to continue to work hard and continue to develop and he’s also an exciting player to watch.”
Washington has developed a daily routine with hitting coach Ramon “Smokey” Ortiz that consists of a soft toss, doing work off the tee and taking pitches from the pitching machine. By doing that everyday, Washington said that he feels like he’s ready to go before the game even starts.
Another token to Washington’s success has been his ability to become more patient at the dish. With grasping a better understanding of what to look for when in the batter’s box, Marmol has noticed great strides in Washington since the beginning of the season.
“Absolutely, he took some at bats (Friday) with runners in scoring position, especially on that two-out double, where he was able to lay off some pitches that were down in the zone where they were trying to get him to chase,” Marmol said about Washington after the club’s 9-3 win over Auburn in the series opener.
“He laid off of them, got to a 3-2 count and was able to do some damage and get that run across the board. So, he has an understanding of kind of where he’s hitting in the lineup, who’s hitting behind him, how they’re going to pitch to him and he’s really doing some damage as of late.”
In the last 10 games, Washington has been on a tear and is riding an eight-game hit streak. Over the course of those games, he has 13 base hits — five are doubles, three in consecutive games and he has two home runs. In addition, he recorded 10 RBIs and has scored seven runs.
Being one of three players in the New York-Penn League with 10 home runs or more, Washington is always a threat to go deep and because of that, he has earned the respect of opposing pitchers. Seven times this season — a league best — he has been intentionally walked with the hopes of taking the bat out of his hands.
While viewed as one of the top power hitters in the league, Washington remains humble and said that he’s trying to do whatever he needs to in order to extend the franchise’s best win-streak.
“I’m just trying to get the job done,” Washington, a San Diego native said. “That’s great and all, but whatever helps the team win and right now for me, it’s driving runs in. So I’m just going to keep trying to focus on doing that.”