Jason Monda has been down this road before.
The 2010 Capital High School graduate and current Washington State junior knows what it’s like to be drafted by a Major League Baseball organization. His senior year at Capital, he was drafted in the 32nd round by the Colorado Rockies. He said thanks, but no thanks to the Rockies and honored his commitment to coach Donnie Marbut at Washington State, where his father, Greg, played for the Cougars.
Thursday will be a bit of déj vu for the now 21-year-old, who is projected to be a high-round draft selection when the three-day Major League Baseball draft of amateur free agents begins.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Monda said. “Coming out of high school, I was pretty set on going to college and I’m not sure if I would’ve enjoyed the (draft) process as much as I am now. I’m definitely enjoying the process.”
Some draft-focused and scouting websites, including Perfect Game, project Monda to be as high as a second- or third-round pick. This spring, the 6-foot-4, 202-pound right fielder hit a career-best .294 with seven home runs and 40 RBI in 54 games for Washington State. His RBI total was a team high and his seven homers tied for team-high honors. He also pitched, sporting a 2-2 record with one save and a 1.57 ERA in 16 appearances on his way
to earning all-Pacific-12 Conference honorable mention honors.
In three seasons in Pullman, Monda has played 145 games and has a career .286 batting average.
Former Capital High baseball coach Eric Starke, now an assistant coach at Kennewick’s Southridge High School, said he’s heard “nothing but good things” about Monda the past few months. In Monda’s senior season at Capital in 2010 playing for Starke, he hit .515 with 34 hits and 34 RBI, leading the Cougars to the 3A regional.
“He’s proven himself to be (a) pro-level hitter,” Starke said.
Monda said most of the 30 big league teams have been in touch with him, but a few clubs, including the Seattle Mariners, have been in regular contact. Last week, Monda took part in a pre-draft workout with the Mariners at Safeco Field.
“They’ve always had a special place in my heart,” Monda said of the Seattle organization. “When I was a kid, it was in their glory days, and I still like them a lot.”
As for choosing to sign with the organization that selects him or return to WSU for his senior season, Monda said he will take his time to weigh his options.
“I’m confident I’ll make the right decision,” he said.
In two of the previous three drafts, two Washington State players from South Sound have been selected — River Ridge’s Seth Harvey in 2010 (37th round by Milwaukee) and Olympia’s Adam Conley in 2011 (second round by Miami).Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/southsoundsports