The Philadelphia Phillies made junior WSU outfielder/first baseman Jason Monda their sixth round selection today, making Monda the first Coug to come off the board in the 2013 MLB Draft.
Monda has been a mainstay in the WSU lineup ever since stepping foot on campus, starting 142 games in his three seasons. At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, he has begun to fill out his lanky frame and it showed this season as he hit .294/.346/.422 with seven home runs and six doubles. He had just three home runs combined in his first two seasons.
Additionally, Monda saw some action on the mound this past season, posting a 1.57 ERA in 34 1/3 innings pitched, primarily out of the bullpen. He struck out 22 and walked 12.
Monda's future as a professional baseball player is as a hitter, though. Monda was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 32nd round out of high school, and it's not hard to see why scouts are high on him. He possesses a sweet lefty swing that has drawn comparisons to another former Cougar, John Olerud -- something obviously helped along by his pitching prowess this year, as well -- and he's smooth in the outfield and on the basepaths. Here's MLB.com's scouting report:
Monda is a projectable college outfielder who hits for average and should add power down the line. Monda, out of Washington State, has shown that he can handle center but might have to move to a corner as he fills out, a place where his glove could be plus. He has average speed on the basepaths but possesses great instincts that allow his speed to play up. If Monda can add power, then he could become a solid everyday player in the Majors.
Monda now faces a choice. He has one year of eligibility remaining, and while most players selected this high typically make the jump, some aren't so sure that Monda to the Phillies is a done deal:
If Monda does choose to stay, he'll be one of the centerpieces of what ought to be an incredibly potent offensive attack that featured a number of freshmen and sophomores, including third baseman Nick Tanielu, who was hitting .409/.500/.627 before being sidelined with 20 games left in the season.
Monda becomes the 26th player drafted since coach Donnie Marbut took over, and almost certainly won't be the last current or future Cougar to hear his name called today or tomorrow. Fellow outfielder Adam Nelubowich probably will be the next current Coug to come off the board.