Johnny Monell Interview: San Francisco Giants Catching Prospect
Thursday October 6, 2011
Jonathan Hacohen (Lead Baseball Columnist – MLB reports): We are proud today to feature on MLB reports: Johnny Monell, catching prospect for the San Francisco Giants. The 25-year old Monell has the distinction of being drafted on three separate occasions: by the Giants in the 27th round in 2005; Mets in the 49th round in 2006; and again by the Giants, in the 30th round of 2007. Johnny from the Bronx- as I like to call him, finished off the 2011 campaign playing for Richmond in AA. In his five professional seasons, Monell has a .349 OBP and .447 SLG, good for a .796 OPS. Considered strong with the bat as well as the glove, Monell’s future looks bright as he works towards joining the big club soon. With his season coming to an end, I had the opportunity to catch up with Johnny Monell and talk some baseball. Here is our interview with Johnny Monell:
MLB reports: Welcome to the Reports Johnny. Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule for us today. Let’s start with some background on you: Who was your favorite baseball player growing up?
MLB reports: I would have to say that 90% of players we have interviewed all selected Griffey. Popular choice! Looking at active rosters, which current MLB star do you most admire and why?
Johnny Monell: Derek Jeter by far is my favorite player- just because of the way he carries himself on and off the baseball field!! He has accomplished so much in that Yankee uniform…He is just great!
MLB reports: Reflecting on your career to-date, what are your proudest accomplishments on the baseball field?
Johnny Monell: I would have to say in 2010, I was invited to major league camp. Just being in camp was an unbelievable experience. I learned so much that year. That year, I actually went on and played for San Jose and ended up having a very good year… You watch how these experienced major leaguers go about their business and how to get ready for a season. We ended winning a championship and the Giants won the World Series at the same time, which is pretty awesome in itself!!
MLB reports: What were your goals going into the 2011 season?
Johnny Monell: Goals coming into this season were to play hard and just be ready to play everyday!! Being in Double ”A” for the first time, you realize a lot and see the best of the best! There are many guys you come across that are ready to make that jump to the majors. I’m happy with where I’m at and just ready to build on it every year to get where I wanna be!
MLB reports: When you first found out you were drafted, what were your reactions? Did those reactions change over time? What was the process like being drafted originally by the Giants in 2005 and Mets in 2006 and not signing with either team? What made you decide to finally sign with the Giants in 2007?
Johnny Monell: The story of how I found out that I was drafted was pretty funny! I was in a McDonald’s with some friends from high school and my college coach from Seminole Community College calls me saying “congratulations you’ve been selected by the SF Giants!” I was definitely excited by the call. I called my family to give them the news. Not too many kids from the Bronx, let alone the inner city, get an opportunity like this. So it was a big deal for myself, as well my family. Reactions kind of changed with time to make a decision- because I wanted to sign! But I knew in my heart that I wasn’t ready. I was fortunate to have my dad on my side, who played pro ball over the course of 17 years, with the Mets especially. Part of me did want to sign with the Mets based on that connection. But at the end of the day, I knew I wasn’t ready and getting advice from my dad helped me to make my decision. After my second year of Jr college, I knew that I was ready to play. As a result, I am now where I belong.
MLB reports: What do you consider your greatest baseball skill(s)?
Johnny Monell: I think I bring a lot to the table. Whether it’s behind the plate or hitting! I’m a left-handed hitting catcher. I think that is one of my main traits. There are not to many players out there that can hit and play this position.
MLB reports: What facets of your game do you most wish to improve upon?
Johnny Monell: At this point of my career, I think I would have to say being consistent and continue to get better. I work every season towards retaining all of my experiences of being a catcher in the minors. I want to take those experiences with me hopefully to the major league level.
MLB reports: How do strikeouts and walks figure into your game? Do you see any of these items changing over time and to what degree?
Johnny Monell: I think they play a huge part! I always strive to being able to see a lot of pitches in the course of every at-bat. This also shows the maturity of a hitter being able to stay back and hit the pitch you want to hit! Walks also can help the batting average. Big time!! This year I wanted to cut down on strikeouts. I did just that by laying off the pitchers’ pitches. I also found that this helps when you come up to bat with runners in scoring position.
MLB reports: Long term what position do you see yourself playing?
Johnny Monell: I see myself behind the plate! I just feel that with every year that goes by, I keep getting better behind the plate. It’s just a matter of putting it all together and going out there and gaining that experience.
MLB reports: If you had to look into a crystal ball, when do you see your expected time of arrival in the big leagues?
Johnny Monell: That is out of my control. I wish it was now, but all I can control is how I play on the field. Knowing the type of player I am, if I keep going about my business as I always have- hopefully one day I can get an opportunity. Someday, God willing of course!
MLB reports: Has pro ball been everything you expected it to be thus far?
Johnny Monell: Pro ball has been an amazing experience! By being with the Giants, I have been able to meet many legends of the game of baseball, such as Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda. I was just grateful to have the opportunity to be in their presence. Words can’t express how much that means to me. Also, it has been incredible to have roving coaches that have so many years of major league experience! I think we are spoiled with the amount of knowledge that is given to us on a daily basis.
MLB reports: What do you do for fun when you are not playing baseball?
Johnny Monell: For fun, I usually like to hang out with friends, family and teammates. I would say that I am a big movie guy during the season. Also I was fortunate enough to play on the east coast this year, so I was able to spend time with many of my family members. Being able to see them throughout the season was something that I cherished greatly. Being able to play in front of family and friends was a nice treat! I would say that I am a good teammate, because I try to hang out with everyone. Team chemistry is a definite priority for me. This is the only organization that I have ever been with. Coming up with the same guys, I would say that our relationship only gets stronger. Throughout each season and especially the last couple of years.
MLB reports: As a catcher in the Giants organization, what was your reaction to the Buster Posey injury?
Johnny Monell: The Buster Posey injury was devastating.
MLB reports: Have your visited San Francisco the city yet? How have you found the city thus far?
Johnny Monell: After playing in San Jose last year, we had a few opportunities to visit San Francisco. I visited as much as I could. The city is great. Food is awesome on the wharf. Visited Alcatraz and took a lot of pictures. Definitely a city I could live in!
Thank you again to Johnny Monell for taking the time to join us today on MLB reports. We highly encourage our readers to post at the bottom of the article any questions and/or comments that you may have for Johnny. As well, please feel free to contact Johnny directly by Twitter (@JMoE220). He is very active on social media and welcomes your feedback!
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Posted on October 6, 2011, in Interviews with MLB Stars and tagged baseball, catcher, cepeda, giants, griffey, jeter, mays, mccovey, mets, mlb, monell, prospect, richmond, rodriguez, sfgiants. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.