The San Diego Padres drafted a very athletic outfielder in the 2015 draft when they selected Josh Magee out of Franklinton High School in Louisiana. The football star had a choice to make and when the Padres came calling he decided, at the age of 18, to start his career as a professional baseball player.
In his first half season in the AZL Magee got in 172 at bats. He had a little trouble adjusting to the pitching, hitting only .203 but he did steal 14 bases and showed a lot of upside. In high school his senior year Magee hit .529 (45-85) with 42 runs scored, 10 doubles, 10 triples, one home run and 29 RBIs. Oh yea, he also stole 21 bases and played excellent defense in center.
With the 147th overall selection in the fifth round the Padres jumped at the opportunity to select Magee even though the supreme athlete wasn’t heavily recruited to go to college. His athleticism was just too advanced to pass up.
I asked Josh about the fact he wasn’t heavily recruited, and he said that it was due to the fact he was a football guy and really didn’t get any baseball attention until his senior year. He was surprised he did not receive many looks prior to that, but it all certainly worked out for the young man in the end.
He was a corner back in high school and was heavily recruited in the sport but when national signing day came, he decided to hold off and wait until the Major League Draft. The Padres selected him and the rest is history.
Playing in the AZL league was a big challenge. At the age of 18, he was away from home for the first time. He told me that overall it was a great experience for him and he learned a lot about himself in the process. You cannot expect the world from a young player. There is certainly a developmental period that a first time player must go through.
Magee see himself as a solid outfielder with a line drive approach. His self-described biggest strength is his speed and he believes that tool is what will take him to “where he wants to go.” He also told me he works very hard on his conditioning and keeping his body in great shape.
He broke plenty of bats in adjusting to swinging a wood bat, but made strides towards the end of the year. He told me… “I got tired of hurting my hands and finally just had to find a way.” Adjustments like this are common for a player fresh out of high school.
He is described as having an advanced approach at the plate for his age by scouts. Josh enjoys seeing pitches and working the count and has no fear about swinging with two strikes. The Padres have him working a lot on bunting and he has had a chance to work with former major leaguer Tony Tarasco. Adding that dimension to his game will be essential in Magee taking the step to the next level.
He enjoys playing center field but is open to playing anywhere the Padres put him. Moises Alou and Louie Ortiz have helped him in the minor league camp and Tarrik Brock also helped him greatly. “The Padres coaches have been great for me.”
Last season he was in the AZL and would like to make it to Fort Wayne this baseball season. That is his goal at the moment but he is trying to take it one day at a time. He just turned 19 and has a very bright future. Josh is really excited to start his career and is in Arizona practicing daily.
He wants the kids out there to stay positive and confident if they choose a career in professional baseball. He told me that he always plays hard because he “never knows who is watching.” Josh would like all the kids out there to play hard because you never know what can happen. Great advice from someone who is still a teenager.
“Competing against better competition will only make me better.” Is what he left me with. That kind of attitude will take this young man far in the game of baseball. He has what it takes as far as skill and he certainly is working his way to being a more complete ball player. I would like to thank him for sitting down and taking time to speak with me. Best of luck and enjoy your first full season of pro ball Josh. We are rooting for you.
**A version of this article first appeared at EastVillageTimes.com