When you’re talking about top ten prospects, you’re talking about players who have a chance to become MLB regulars, maybe even stars. But there are no guarantees.
Jordan Groshans is about as close to one as you’re going to get, though.
A foot injury limited him to only 23 Midwest League games this year, but he demonstrated in that short sample that he’s a prospect on the rise.
Groshans’ approach at the plate is so advanced that in watching him play over the course of a week in Lansing in April, it was hard to believe that he was a high schooler less than a year earlier. Groshans has a sharp knowledge of the strike zone, and combined with his ability to judge spin, he seldom chases. Groshans gets good coverage of the plate with his swing, and can take a pitch oppo if he needs to. He barrelled up a bucketful of pitches over the course of that week. Groshans himself admitted to David Laurila of Fangraphs that he was pull-happy in the GCL last year, and refined his approach when he hit full season ball:
“I was fresh out of high school and trying to make a big impression,” Groshans told me shortly before being injured. “I was really pull-happy, and swinging at a lot of stuff I shouldn’t have been swinging at. My strike-zone judgement has improved a lot.”
Part of that refinement included toning down his leg kick, which had him out in front at times, something more advanced Pitchers could easily exploit if he hadn’t made the adjustment. When you consider his approach, balanced swing, and bat speed, it’s easy to project Groshans as an above-average big league hitter.
The question will be where Groshans ultimately plays in the field. There is no doubt as to his athleticism, but he lacks the quick-twitch reactions at this point in his career of a true MLB Short Stop. A week of viewing showed that Groshans actually has decent range for a player of his size (6’3″), but he had some trouble with his transfer, and I was told that the coaching staff had been working quite hard with him on his footwork – he has made progress, according to Gil Kim, but it remains to be seen how well that will translate into game action. With his hit tool, strong arm and ability to track ground balls, Groshans will probably make the move over to 3rd Base one day.
Groshans’ injury was described as stress-related. He was shut down in early May for a week, came back, but went back on the IL after only 4 games. The Blue Jays were optimistic that he might return in 2019, but he was shut down for the rest of the year in early August. Foot injuries can take time to heal, and a pair of baseball cleats are not always the best thing for such an injury, but the club expects him to make a full recovery and be ready for spring training.
If not for his truncated 2019 season, Groshans might have played his way into the upper tier of a number of Top 100 lists. With the graduation of Biggio, Vlad, and Bo, he has become the Blue Jays top position player prospect.