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 to.
DA: What are the Rays getting in Josh Sale?
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