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Blue Jays select 3B Jordan Groshans 12th overall

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2014 MLB Draft Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

With their first round pick, 12th overall, the Blue Jays selected Jordan Groshans, a shortstop/third baseman from Magnolia High School in Texas. He was committed to the Universityof Kansas, but given where he was selected it’s essentially a slam dunk he’ll sign.

Groshans is an athletic 6’4” infielder who has played shortstop but is expected to eventually settle in at third base as a professional (though the Blue Jays will start him at SS). He has considerable offensive upside, with above average potential power and success hitting against quality pitching on the high school showcase circuit.

The highlight of his amateur career is a home run in the Perfect Game All-American Classic last August, turning around a 95 MPH fastball from Lenny Torres (who himself was drafted shortly afterwards 41st overall in the sandwich round):

That said, at first impression, it is a surprising choice, given the consensus on where he was ranked (31st by MLB.com, 28th at FanGraphs, 38th by Baseball America) but also some of the other players who were still on the board. In particular, a pair of Arizonian high schoolers in LHP Matthew Liberatore and 3B Nolan Gorman were expected to go higher yet were both available, and to a lesser extent RHP Cole Winn to whom the Jays had been connected.

Keith Law, in his live Periscope chat opined that it struck him as a reach and that he would have taken Liberatore (assuming the the Rays didn’t cut a deal to push him down to them). He also noted that he’s talked to people who really love Groshans and that Tony LaCava is well known for assessing swings, and thus it follows that the Jays are enamoured of his swing.

Given this, it’s very possible the Jays cut an underslot deal with Groshans, to get a player they really like and don’t expect to still be on the board in the second round at 52nd overall. In so, then this pick can’t be assessed in isolation, as the slot savings could allow them to add more talent later.