Toronto Blue Jays 2020 Top Prospects: #2 Jordan Groshans

The Jays Journal staff returns with our yearly Top 30 prospect rankings. The #2 spot goes to an infielder, Jordan Groshans.

Name:  Jordan Groshans
Position: Shortstop and Third Base                  Age: 20
Height: 6’3”                                                              Weight: 205 lbs
Throws: Right                                                          Bats: Right
Acquired: Drafted in the 1st round of MLB’s 2018 June Amateur Draft

2019 Organization Level: A                                ETA: 2022

Background

In MLB’s 2018 June Amateur Draft, the Blue Jays used their first pick (12th overall) to select Jordan Groshans from Magnolia High; they also took teammate Adam Kloffenstein in the third round of the same draft. The Blue Jays signed Groshans for below-slot value, which provided flexibility that allowed them to sign Kloffenstein.

Groshans first professional assignment was to play for the 2018 GCL Blue Jays in the Gulf Coast League (rookie ball). In 159 plate appearances, he posted a 0.390 OBP and a 0.890 OPS. From there, he played for the 2018 Bluefield Blue Jays in the Appalachian League, another rookie ball level. In limited action (48 plate appearances), he recorded a 0.502 OPS. Table 1 contains additional Groshans data.

The next year, Groshans was promoted to the Midwest League’s Lansing Lugnuts, a Class A ball club. He excelled: in 23 games, Groshans produced a 0.427 OBP and a 0.909 OPS. Unfortunately, he suffered a foot injury and missed the balance of the season. In a recent chat, Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper made the following comment regarding Groshans injury:

I would say that it is unlikely to be an injury that has significant long-term ramifications. It’s some lost development time and puts him roughly a half year behind where he would have been if healthy. The bat’s still really good.

Speaking of Baseball America, Groshans was ranked #29 in Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects, which was released in January 2020.  In Baseball America’s 2019 Pre-Season Top 100 Prospects, he was listed as #89. Moving from #89 to #29, despite missing almost 80% of the 2019 season, is quite an accomplishment for young Groshans. MLB Pipeline entered the 2020 prospect ranking fray with their #75 slot for Groshans. On February 12, FanGraphs placed him in the #80 position on their list of 2020 Top 100 Prospects.

Table 2 summarizes FanGraphs Tool Grades; and Table 3 is FanGraphs Future Value Chart.

Hitting

Baseball Prospectus made the following comments regarding Groshans’ hitting.

Quiet pre-swing, mild load with a leg kick used for timing. Above-average bat speed and plus barrel control. Stays balanced through swing. Has a quick trigger that can catch up to velocity. Plus raw power, ball jumps off of the bat. Has the ability to hit with power to all fields. Power will play more in game with physical maturity.

Baseball America’s post-2019 season report contained the following opinion:

When healthy, Groshans looked like one of the top offensive forces in the lower levels. He has a long frame and generates fast bat speed, with a knack for being on time. He has athletic hitting actions and an advanced approach for his age, with the ability to hammer premium velocity while also recognizing off-speed pitches and has the adjustability in his body and swing to barrel soft stuff. He has good plate coverage, particularly for a taller hitter, and he has plus power, driving the ball out of the park from right-center over to his pull side.

MLB Pipeline did not want to remain silent on the subject of Groshans hitting and added this to the mix.

Combining plus bat speed with a balanced swing and a knack for barreling the baseball, Groshans has the potential to hit for average and power from the right side of the plate. He consistently hits hard line drives with backspin carry to all fields, has no problem turning around quality velocity and employs an approach that’s advanced for his age. Scouts believe Groshans will develop plus power as he grows into his projectable 6-foot-3 frame and adds some loft to his swing, and he already shows an innate feel for driving the ball the other way with authority.

Baseball Prospectus, in its April 30, 2019 report, assigned a 55 grade to Groshans hitting and 60 to his power. MLB Pipeline graded both his hitting and power at 55. Baseball America gave a 60 grade to both his hitting and power, which is classified as plus. FanGraphs slipped a 50 hitting grade into the mix and a game power mark of 55.

With respect to his running speed, Groshans is currently considered to have fringy-average to average foot speed.

Defence

Baseball Prospectus made the following remarks with regards to Groshans glove and arm.

Jays will keep him at shortstop as long as they can but will eventually find a home at third base. Lacks lateral quickness to excel at the six. Good instincts and soft hands, will be a capable defender at the hot corner. Plenty of arm strength for either position on the left side.

Baseball America, in the noted report, chimed in with the following comments with respect to Groshans defence:

At shortstop, Groshans has an above-average arm and gets good reads off the bat, though his first-step quickness and range lead a lot of scouts to project a move to third base. He has the attributes to develop into an above-average defender if he moves to third base.

MLB Pipeline was not silent on the subject of Groshans defence.

Though he’s an average runner and athletic for his size, Groshans isn’t a lock to stick at shortstop. He has the hands and plus arm strength needed for the position, but a lack of quickness on top of his remaining physical projection portend an eventual move to third base, where his range and actions are better fits. The good news is that Groshans has the type of offensive ceiling needed to profile at the hot corner, with the potential to develop into an above-average regular who offers value on both sides of the ball.

MLB Pipeline, Baseball America, FanGraphs, and Baseball Prospectus each assigned a 50 (average) to Groshans glove. MLB Pipeline, FanGraphs, and Baseball America rated Groshans arm as plus (60); Baseball Prospectus offered a mark of 55, which is still above average.

Future Value

FanGraphs set the floor with their 50 grade (average) for Groshans. MLB Pipeline assigned an overall grade of 55 (above average); and Baseball Prospectus did a grade better with a 60 (plus). Topping the charts was Baseball America with a grade of 65!

Baseball America concluded its report with the following comment:

Health is the only thing that has held back Groshans, who has a chance to develop into a plus regular who could hit toward the top or middle of a big league lineup.

Not to be outdone, Baseball Prospectus wrote the following:

Groshans has the look of an older, more polished college bat not a teenager playing in his first full season assignment. He’s big and strong with plenty of projection left in the tank. The bat has potential to be a middle of the lineup type that is a rare mix of contact and power. That offensive potential will allow for an eventual move off the six. Profiles as a plus starter at the major league level that is an occasional All-Star.

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The last word

Groshans has demonstrated in a short period of time that he is a prospect worthy of fan excitement. I will conclude with a quote from Baseball America. “No matter where he plays, Groshans has the potential to be another enviable addition to the Blue Jays’ increasingly formidable homegrown core.” “No matter where he plays, Groshans has the potential to be another enviable addition to the Blue Jays’ increasingly formidable homegrown core.” That sounded so good I just had to write it twice.

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