The Blue Jays, who have shown a preference for middle infielders and pitchers with their top picks in the most recent drafts, added to their growing stable of Short Stops by selecting Texas HS slugger Jordan Groshans with their first pick, 12th overall.
Most mock drafts had the bat-first Groshans in the 30s, but the Blue Jays valued his offensive skills. “We just feel Jordan has a lot of the attributes we look for both in his swing, his combination of contact, of power, plate discipline,” Amateur Scouting Director Steve Sanders told Sportsnet. “He’s got a great feel and approach in the box, he’s able to drive the ball to all fields and we’re confident that his offensive ability will certainly transfer with wood at the next level.”
Toronto has been following Groshans extensively last summer on the showcase circuit, and continued to keep close tabs on him this spring. Reports suggest that he will moved to 3B eventually, but his bat will play. Baseball America‘s draft report:
A 6-foot-4, 190-pound shortstop, Groshans has quick bat speed and plus raw power and he showed the ability to square up elite pitching on the summer showcase circuit in 2017. He hit 90-plus mph velocity hard all over the field in multiple events, including a home run against a 95-mph fastball from New York righthander Lineras Torres Jr. in the Perfect Game All-American Classic. Over the summer, Groshans used a big leg kick to get start his load and when he was on time it didn’t hinder him, instead helping him generate more power. But there were instances where Groshans would get out on his front side and fly open early, leaving some scouts to question whether the big leg kick would create more timing issues as he advanced against better pitching. This spring, Groshans has quieted the leg kick and improved his balance and hand path to the ball, attempting to lift the ball less frequently and has been hitting lasers the entire season. He’s also added around 10 pounds of muscle while maintaining his lean body. Groshans has an above-average arm and he’s shown good defensive actions at a number of infield positions, though most scouts believe he will eventually move to third base with a chance to be an above-average defender as he continues to fill out his frame.
With a commitment to join his brother at Kansas, there is some risk to this pick, but along with tools and makeup, the Blue Jays have heavily scouted his signability. The slot value for the 12th pick is $4.2 million, or almost half of the Blue Jays’ assigned value for the first ten rounds. The Blue Jays will likely sign lower picks to smaller bonuses to elevate what they offer Groshans, who won’t improve his draft position by going to college.
In short, expect Groshans to sign well in advance of the July 15th deadline, but he will be one of the last players to affix his name to a contract. Groshans will begin his pro career in the Gulf Coast League, and if a position switch is in the offing he may spend some time there. Vancouver may be a late-season destination.
Duke OF Griffin Conine was originally thought of as a first round pick, but an inconsistent spring caused his stock to drop. The Blue Jays covet players in that type of situation, and his blood lines only help his cause in the eyes of the organization. The consensus seems to be that Conine sold out and went for more power as he came under more intense scrutiny from scouts this year. As a pro, there’s a good chance that the Cape Cod League’s 2017 Top Prospect rediscovers his stroke.
2080baseball.com’s report on the son of Mr Marlin:
Athletic right fielder with plus bat and power potential; good, sound approach at the plate from a slight open stance; good balance; plus bat speed with quick hands and quick wrists; plus barrel control, barrels up balls and projects as a plus hitter; present strength; loft and leverage to all fields, projects to plus power; below-average run; did not produce home-to-first run time; above-average arm strength (55) with good carry; average defensive actions; tools to be above-average major league regular contributor.
Conine could prove to be a steal. Like Groshans, he may be one of the last draftees to sign, but expect him to head northwest to patrol RF for the Vancouver Canadians shortly after he does. C’s fans should be excited – Conine may be the best bat to join the team since they became a Blue Jays affiliate.