Bishop Blanchet baseball star Josh Sale was the No. 17 pick in the first round of the draft Monday, taken by the Tampa Bay Rays.

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When Bud Selig stepped to the podium to announce the 17th pick in the Major League Baseball first-year player draft, Josh Sale was watching with a small group of family members.

When baseball’s commissioner announced Sale’s first name, the Bishop Blanchet senior stood up.

When Selig slightly mispronounced the outfielder’s last name, he knew it was real.

After being selected by the Tampa Bay Rays, he pumped his fist. Words didn’t come easily, but one thought flashed in his mind: “Yes.”

“It’s just kind of all there right now,” said Sale, while his family celebrated. “I didn’t really think much. I just went with it and gave a little yes and thanked the big man upstairs.”

In the weeks leading up to the draft it seemed clear Sale, the 10th-rated prospect by Baseball America, would become the highest local high-school player chosen since Travis Snider went No. 14 to Toronto out of Jackson in 2006. There was talk Sale would land in the top 10.

After several early surprises, Sale slipped, but the left-handed hitter is pleased with where he was taken.

“I feel like I’m on top of the world,” said Sale, who batted .520 with five homers, six doubles, 20 runs batted in and 27 walks his senior season. “I’m flying right now.”

During the predraft coverage on the MLB Network, former Mariner Harold Reynolds said Sale had “tremendous power” potential and praised his makeup as a player, calling him one of the most “pleasant kids I’ve ever met.”

Said Sale: “I’m actually honored to have his phone number in my phone book. He’s a genuine guy. I talked to him over the phone and he’s a really cool dude. He knows where my high school is. He knows the Seattle area and he’s got the hometown connection kind of. He really just wanted to wish me the best.”

Leading up to the draft, the 6-foot, 215-pound power hitter said he understood there were no guarantees, but he helped put himself in the position to be selected early with daily 6 a.m. trips to RIPS Baseball Training Complex in Burien.

“He’s got an uncanny feel for the mechanics of his swing, what goes into being a successful hitter,” said Andrew Friedman, Rays executive vice president. “With most high-school guys that we draft, it’s a process for us at the player-development side to educate them on that and he’s coming in extremely advanced on that front.

“We feel very good about the fact that he’ll be able to reach his max potential, because of who he is, the makeup, the work ethic and we are thrilled to get him where we did.”

Central Kitsap’s ambidextrous outfielder Drew Vettleson was also selected by the Rays at No. 42 with a supplemental pick after the first round. Highline infielder Ryan Brett is the top Washington prospect still available.

Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or

Washington first-rounders
Josh Sale of Bishop Blanchet was selected by Tampa Bay with the 17th pick of the MLB draft Monday. He is the 18th Washington high-school player taken in the first round of the draft, which started in 1965. (Note: Not included are Washington high-school players who went to college before being drafted in the first round.)
Year Player, pos High school (city) Pick Team
2010 Josh Sale, OF Bishop Blanchet 17 Tampa Bay
2006 Travis Snider, OF Jackson (Mill Creek) 14 Toronto
2001 Jeremy Bonderman, RHP Pasco 26 Oakland
1999 B.J. Garbe, OF Moses Lake 5 Minnesota
Ty Howington, LHP Hudson’s Bay (Vancouver) 14 Cincinnati
Jason Stumm, RHP Centralia 15 White Sox
Gerik Baxter, RHP Edmonds-Woodway 28 San Diego
1996 Adam Eaton, RHP Snohomish 11 Philadelphia
1985 Jeff Bumgarner, RHP Hanford (Richland) 13 Minnesota
1984 Tom Hartley, OF Hudson’s Bay (Vancouver) 26 White Sox
1981 Jay Roberts, OF Centralia 12 Atlanta
1976 Jamie Allen, 3B Davis (Yakima) 10 Minnesota
1975 Mike Lentz, LHP Juanita (Kirkland) 2 San Diego
1973 Ted Farr, C Shadle Park (Spokane) 18 Dodgers
1972 Larry Christenson, RHP Marysville 3 Philadelphia
1970 Paul Dade, 3B Nathan Hale 10 Angels
1966 Bob Reynolds, RHP Ingraham 17 San Francisco
1965 Scott McDonald, RHP Marquette (Yakima) 15 Baltimore