- Full name Josh Ezekiel Gasu Sale
- Born 07/05/1991 in Seattle, WA
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Bishop Blanchet
Drafted in the 1st round (17th overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010 (signed for $1,620,000).
View Draft ReportThough he works hard, Sale isn't a great fielder, thrower or runner, but there's thunder in his bat. And in a year thin on impact hitters, that's what teams will be buying with Sale in the first round. Sale's father is Samoan and ranks among the best in the nation in drug-free powerlifting. He has inherited his father's love for working out and has a rock-solid, 6-toot-1, 215-pound frame. With bat speed better than Travis Snider--one scout even called it the best bat speed he has ever seen from an amateur--Sale has raw power that approaches the top of the scouting scale. How much of his power he'll be able to use, though, is a question because of a few flaws in Sale's lefthanded swing. He has a high back elbow and sometimes strides too early, but the biggest concern is that he raises up out of his crouched stance, changing his eye level and leaving him susceptible to breaking balls. Most scouts believe the problems are fixable because he's coachable and works hard. He also has a great feel for the strike zone and a patient approach at the plate, and he's so strong that calming down his swing shouldn't sap his power. He also has great hand-eye coordination, as evidenced by the fact that he golfed with a single-digit handicap until he was 15--as a righthanded player. Scouts rave about Sale's makeup and work ethic. He is articulate and studies hard in school, but won't make it to Gonzaga.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The 17th overall pick in the 2010 draft, Sale earned an above-slot $1.62 million bonus based on his bat, but he looked like a bust during his 2011 pro debut and appeared to panic at the plate at times. After the season he worked with his some of his amateur coaches in the Seattle area to rework his hitting mechanics while rededicating himself to the game. Tampa Bay had him spend a month in extended spring training before turning him loose at Bowling Green in May. Sale responded by hitting .370 with seven homers in his first 19 games. He couldn't keep that encouraging start going, however, as he batted just .232 with three homers in the next 55 games and then became one of four Hot Rods to test positive for methamphetamine and an amphetamine, resulting in a 50-game suspension. Though Sale slipped into bad habits, such as becoming too pull-conscious, the Rays said he looked more like the player they thought they were getting in 2010. He demonstrated a stronger mental approach and did a better job of using the entire field and incorporating his hands in his swing. Sale has a good feel for the strike zone, drawing more than his share of walks, though he also strikes out a lot because he works deep counts. His power stands out more than his hitting ability at this point. Sale has solid speed but needs to improve his feel for running the bases. He provides below-average defense and arm strength in left field, so his bat will have to carry him. Tampa Bay will get a better idea if it can after he serves out his suspension and moves to high Class A in 2013.
Sale had a single-digit handicap in golf, though he swung righthanded. The first player in the history of the Area Code Games to hit for the cycle, Sale was one of the best high school hitters available in the 2010 draft. A Gonzaga recruit, he went 17th overall and signed for $1.62 million at the Aug. 16 deadline. He saw his first pro action in instructional league. The top prep power hitter in the 2010 draft, Sale projects as a significant run producer and a corner outfielder. He generates incredible bat speed and shows a great feel for the strike zone while employing a patient approach. He has good present strength, which makes sense considering his father was a competitive natural powerlifter. He also has impressive hand-eye coordination, though he does have a few flaws in his swing, including a high back elbow and an early stride. He has the makeup and work ethic to make adjustments, and he should be able to do so without compromising his power. His speed, defensive ability and arm strength are all fringy, so while he works hard, he'll probably wind up in left field. Sale's offensive prowess gives him the potential to move quickly, though the Rays rarely rush high school signees. Because he signed late, he'll likely make his pro debut at Rookie-level Princeton in June.
Minor League Top Prospects
The 17th overall pick in 2010 and the most prized of the Rays' Princeton prospect crop heading into the season, Sale evinced a power hitter's strength and raw bat speed in his pro debut, but faulty swing mechanics hamstrung him for most of the season. At the urging of the Princeton coaching staff, he overhauled his swing in mid-August by eliminating the long stride that affected his swing path and altered his eye level. He hit just .241 when putting the ball in play--one of the lowest averages in the league--strongly suggesting the absence of consistent line-drive contact. "When we saw him early, he looked jumpy in the box," Pulaski manager Rob Mummau said, "but the last time we saw him, he had made adjustments and slowed things down with his lower half." Though it was a limited sample, Sale went 11-for-36 (.306) with five extra-base hits and five walks in his final 11 games. Amateur scouts compared Sale with Travis Snider, the Appy League's No. 1 prospect in 2006, as a physical, lefthanded slugger from the state of Washington. That comparison extends beyond the batter's box, too, because Sale is a fringe-average runner, thrower and defender in left field whose value is tied to his ability to hit for power and average.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011