Draft : : Prospect Scouting Reports
Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Draft Focus: Jason Monda

Frankie Piliere        
Every weekday leading up to the 2013 MLB Draft, Perfect Game will be providing a scouting profile on a notable draft-eligible prospect.  Stay tuned to Perfect Game and be sure to visit the Draft Page for all of the latest info and reports pertaining to the draft.

Position:  OF
Height:  6-4
Weight:  202
Bats/Throws:  L-L
Birthdate:  Aug. 22, 1991
College:  Washington State
Hometown:  Olympia, Wash.
Previously Drafted:  Rockies '10 (32)
Projected Draft Round:  2-3

Jason Monda presents a very interesting and unique skill set for scouts to evaluate. At 6-foot-4, 202 pounds, he’s long and wiry, and also possesses intriguing power potential and foot speed. But, in what seems like somewhat of a trend in this year’s crop of college hitters, Monda is not a finished product. He requires some projection and imagination from the scouting world. This is not a “safe” player with an unblemished track record; after a summer following his freshman campaign that put him squarely on the map, there have been a number of peaks and valleys in Monda’s performance.

Monda arrived on campus for Washington State a crude but exciting talent. It was clear from the get-go that he had potential with all five tools. The Colorado Rockies took him in the 32nd round out of high school, but it was also quite clear that the development at the college level would be a significant positive for him. The lefty swinging Monda played in 38 games for the Cougars as a freshman, and put up solid numbers across the board. He posted a .291 batting average, slugging two home runs and nine doubles in the process. Given his lively, projectable frame, scouts were left highly intrigued by what he’d be able to do that summer in the Cape Cod League.

The performance from Monda on the Cape did not disappoint - he hit an impressive .333 in 32 games for the Brewster Whitecaps, swiping 13 bases and hitting two home runs along the way. That type of standout performance with the bat in particular appeared to put him in a prime position for a huge sophomore campaign at Washington State.

But, that big sophomore year just never materialized. Monda hit a pedestrian .275 in 2012, hitting just one home run in 53 games. He’d later return to the Brewster Whitecaps for another summer on the Cape, but he didn’t enjoy the type of success he had the summer before. He hit nearly 100 points lower than he had in 2011, hitting .240 with two home runs and five stolen bases. There was a lot of talking about Monda battling nagging injuries, and if that’s the case it certainly explains a lot. And, for the most part, Monda’s stock did not seem to take much of a hit, based on conversations with scouts who watched him on the Cape.

Surely, everyone in the scouting world would have loved for Jason Monda to blossom last year, but scouts aren’t paid to evaluate performance. I also came away from a summer scouting Monda similarly intrigued despite the downturn in performance. Monda is an above average runner with a strong arm the the outfield; he shows excellent range and looks like he could be a 20 stolen base threat as a professional. But, if he can ever completely figure out his swing mechanics, the real intrigue with him is at the plate.

Monda has superb bat speed - he’s fluid through the zone and gets good extension. He still gets to the ball very quickly in spite of his mechanical flaws. His head frequently comes forward, well out over his front side, and there is occasionally a very clear arm bar in his stroke. He’s a front foot hitter right now, and his above average bat speed and quickness in his hands are compensating for that right now. If he can work on staying a little shorter to the ball and stay on his back leg more effectively, he has the body type to eventually develop into a legitimate left-handed power threat. The power shows up in a big way in batting practice - clearly the raw strength is in place.

Players like Monda are no cakewalk for scouts. There will be differing opinions on just how much he can improve at the plate, and if he can ever tap into his power potential. Clearly, considering the lack of consistent performance, he’s not the first round talent some believed he’d develop into a couple years ago. However, his outstanding tools and raw power potential still making him a fascinating sleeper prospect that could go off the board in the second or third round in June.

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