Shortstop/Third baseman Jordan Groshans’ path to the Toronto Blue Jays may require a permanent position change, which may provide benefits to the entire roster.
Jordan Groshans was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays at 12th overall in the 2018 amateur draft. The Magnolia, Texas native was signed to the team for $3.4 million, and made an immediate impact in his first year of professional baseball.
The #2 ranked prospect in the Blue Jays system would spend the 2018 season in rookie league ball with both the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays and the Bluefield Blue Jays. He would slash .296/.353/.446 between both teams, and would smack five home runs to go along with 43 RBI and 15 walks. He did struggle in Bluefield compared to his time with the Gulf Coast Blue Jays, but those concerns were remediated during his sophomore season.
He would spend the entire 2019 season with Lansing Lugnuts in Class A ball, playing in only 23 games due to a left foot injury that forced his season to foreclose earlier than expected. During his limited time, he would slash an impressive .337/.427/.482 with two home runs and 13 RBI. He did strikeout 21 times during those 23 games, but also walked an impressive 13 times, proving that he still has kinks to work out over the next few years before reaching the MLB level.
Groshans has spent his entire professional career on the left side of the infield, but spends the majority of the time as a shortstop rather than at third base. His defence is described as average at best, considering his first two seasons of pro ball saw his fielding percentage sit below .950% (both each season, and combined).
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In 2018, he played 21 games at both shortstop and third base, and collected nine and four errors respectively per position. During the 2019 season, he played only at shortstop and committed seven errors in the 20 games he played in defensively (spending three as a DH), finishing with a .909 fielding percentage.
While Groshans has always been recognized for his hitting ability, if he wants to be a major league ball player he and the Blue Jays may want to consider a permanent position change to third base. I’m sure they’ll continue developing his positional flexibility, but he ultimately seems destined for the hot corner.
There are a few reasons to support this notion.
The first being that the current shortstop in Toronto is not going anywhere barring a monumental trade. Bo Bichette exploded onto the scene with an impressive rookie campaign, and it would be difficult to see the Blue Jays brass moving him elsewhere, position or organization wise. If Groshans wants to try and crack the MLB roster in 2-3 years, he will be blocked by Bichette if he continues to move up the farm system as a shortstop.
Another reason to support Groshans’ slide to third base would be the movement of current third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to another position such as first base. In his first year of MLB action, Vladdy has seen his ups and downs on the hot corner. While he has made some terrific plays which were supplemented by his powerful arm, he has also made some easy errors that bring questions about his defensive consistency over the long run. Many fans and writers also predict a move across the diamond due to his physique and speed, which would allow Guerrero Jr. to split time with current first baseman Rowdy Tellez as the designated hitter as well.
This would create a winning situation for both Groshans and for the Blue Jays when he’s ready for the highest level. You would have the powerful bats of Tellez, Guerrero Jr., Bichette, and potentially Groshans in the lineup on an everyday basis without sacrificing the durability of your players. Groshans can always cover Bichette if needed, and Guerrero Jr. could always cover the hot corner for off days, or even in the event of an injury.
The one caveat to this plan is Groshans’ defensive ability compared to Guerrero Jr’s. Guerrero had a fielding percentage of .936% during his rookie season, which also included 17 errors over the 96 games he played at 3B. He was tied for second in errors committed by qualified third basemen and ranked 34th (out of 37 qualified players) for fielding percentage. While Guerrero Jr. did have a better fielding percentage at a higher level of play than Groshans, the latter still has the opportunity to improve his ability while in the minor leagues, especially considering he is still a few years away from the big leagues. It would be weighing the risk of losing Guerrero’s powerful arm to who will commit less errors at third base, among other factors.
Although it was his rookie season, it is safe to say that a .936% at third base will bode well over time, and unless Vladimir Guerrero Jr. can improve this stat over the next few years, a position change may do him some good as well. If Groshans can switch to a permanent 3B role and can improve his fielding ability while still in the minor leagues, this whole scenario will make things easier for the organization that allows the best fielders to be on the field without sacrificing the power bats in the lineup.
Regardless of what the Blue Jays choose to do, Jordan Groshans has the potential to make a major impact on the squad in the future as an above average hitter with power. If he can stay healthy, many Toronto Blue Jays fans will be adding a blue Groshans jersey to their wardrobe.