Blue Jays select shortstop Jordan Groshans with 12th overall pick
The Toronto Blue Jays selected 18-year-old high school infielder Jordan Groshans with the 12th overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft. It was the first time the Blue Jays used their first-round pick to select a high school player since 2013.
Groshans, who was ranked 31st on MLB Pipeline’s top 200 list, is a shortstop for Magnolia High School in Magnolia, Texas. At 6-foot-4, 180 pounds Groshans is an advanced hitter with size and athleticism who has plenty of room to grow both physically and mentally.
The Blue Jays clearly believe in him, as amateur scouting director Steve Sanders and his team have shown interest in Groshans since last summer, getting to know the Texas native personally.
“We knew early on that Jordan was somebody that we were going to be interested in dating back as far as last summer and even a little bit before that, and he’s somebody we’ve watched closely. As that timeline evolves we’ve had a lot of guys on our staff not only go see him play but spend time with him off the field, getting to know him,” Sanders said.
“It’s a long process but one that was certainly very thorough.”
What enticed the Blue Jays most about Groshans is his advanced approach to hitting, projecting him to be a middle of the order hitter, although his size and mobility didn’t rank far behind.
“We’ve seen a lot of Jordan as a hitter, not just this spring with his high school season but also dating back to last summer where we got to see him hit with a wood bat against some of the better competition in the country,” Sanders said. “We just feel Jordan has a lot of the attributes we look for both in his swing and his combination of contact, power, plate discipline. He’s got a great feel and approach in the box, he’s able to drive the ball to all fields. We’re confident that his offensive ability will translate with wood to the next level.”
MLB.com’s Jim Callis clearly agrees, writing that “Groshans has some of the best raw power in this Draft… He makes a lot of hard contact, and there’s room to add a lot of strength to his 6-foot-4 frame, so he’s gonna do a lot of damage.”
In terms of fielding, Groshans is an agile shortstop considering his big frame, and the Blue Jays are confident that his skill and athleticism will translate to the next level.
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“Jordan’s a big kid, certainly for a shortstop, but for being a bigger guy he moves really well,” Sanders said.” He’s got great body control and I think we’re confident that as an 18-year-old he’s going to add strength and continue to grow as he matures.”
Although Sanders believes Groshans is “certainly capable and has the skills to go out and play short[stop]” and will start there, whether he plays short or third base in the future is something that will be decided over time. Considering his size and that the Blue Jays selected shortstop Logan Warmoth 22nd overall in the first round of last year’s draft, plus they already have highly-touted prospect Bo Bichette tearing up Double-A at short, many believe Groshans projects to be a third baseman in the long run.
Seeing that Groshans was ranked 31st by MLB.com, 28th at FanGraphs, 38th by Baseball America, picking Groshans 12th overall might seem like a stretch from the Blue Jays. But by picking someone expected to go a later in the draft, like Groshans was, the Blue Jays can pay him more than he was otherwise going to get but less than the $4.2 million slot value assigned to the 12th overall spot, saving money that can be reallocated to other areas of the draft.
For example, the difference may come in handy when cutting a deal with right-handed pitcher Adam Kloffenstein, who was an earlier-round talent (and Groshan’s neighbour and teammate at Magnolia High School) who slipped to the Blue Jays in the third round of the draft. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi does a good job of explaining how the Blue Jays manipulated the spending pool here.
Next: Blue Jays Draft 2018: The Hidden Story?
Although Groshans is committed to the University of Kansas, where his brother Jaxx plays as a catcher, the Blue Jays are “confident” they can work out a deal with the shortstop. Here’s to hoping the two sides not only work out a deal but that Groshans develops into the middle of the order hitter the Blue Jays believe he is capable of becoming.
Who says no to a future 2-3-4 of Bo Bichette, Jordan Groshans, and Vlad Guerrero Jr.?