DraftAmerica recently spoke with Bishop
Blanchet HS coach George Monica about No. 17 overall pick Josh Sale, the outfielder
taken by the Tampa Bay Rays.
DA: What’s it been like to coach Josh
and see him grow in front of your eyes like that?
GM: He was a starter for us starting
with his freshman year, so we got him for four years and he’s got
about every school hitting record, both career and single season –
or pretty darn close anyway. He worked very very hard, [and] it was
tremendous focus for him. He got up every day and went to hit down by
where he lives, in addition to all the other practices and stuff. And
he’s worked very very hard on his physical conditioning, his
nutrition, you name it. He really earned that selection.
DA: Did you know you had a special
player right from the get-go in Josh?
GM: I think we knew that he was going
to be a really good player, but I don’t think, at least in my mind,
that you can ever project out somebody’s actually going to be a
first-round draft pick. We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of good
players come through Blanchet, many college players, some players
that were picked in the draft and alike, but to think that you’re
ever going to have a kid that’s actually going to go that high, it’s
almost an impossible situation is some ways.
DA: Was it a big surprise for him to go
in the first round?
GM: Well with all the attention that he
got last year and this year, and the scouts talking to me and
different people from different organizations, including Tampa Bay,
that I guess we kind of knew he was going to go in the first round,
and so it was a little bit anti-climactic, if that’s ever possible
when somebody goes in the first round. But we kind of did know that
was going to take place.
DA: Still, it must have been a huge
thrill for you and Josh.
GM: Oh absolutely. As I said earlier,
you can hardly believe that [it was] one of your players it happened
DA: What are the Rays getting in Josh
GM: I think what they’re getting is a
kid that is really, really dedicated to becoming a great player. I
don’t think there’s any reason for him to stop what’s been his
tremendous work ethic and dedication to being a great baseball player
at this point. So I don’t think that they’re ever going to have a
problem with him [not] being motivated to play.
DA: Is there anything in particular you
think he might need to work on in order to get to that next level and
excel in the major leagues?
GM: I think there’s an awful lot of
good players that get picked in the draft. And then it’s a whole new
ballgame trying to move through that system, and with all of the
distractions, the travel, and all those things that take place with a
young kid – and he is just a kid, he’s only 18 years old, and I
think [people] kind of forget that – and just like kids make
adjustments when they go off to college, with dorm life and all that
kind of stuff, he’s going to have to make a heck of an adjustment
here as well.
For more on Josh and the latest Rays information, check out dockoftherays.com