With the 88th overall pick in the 3rd round of the 2018 MLB Draft, the Blue Jays selected Adam Kloffenstein, a right handed pitcher from Magnolia High School in Houston, Texas. If that name seems familiar, it’s because he’s the high school teammate of first round pick Jordan Groshans. And more than likely, some of the slot savings they should realize when Groshans signs will end up being used to sign Kloffenstein.
Kloffenstein is the archetype of the “everything’s bigger in Texas” draftee, standing at 6’5” and 220 pounds despite the fact that he’s only 17 and won’t turn 18 until late August. Despite being very young for the class, there’s less physical projection than usual given where he already is (and it matters less in general for pitchers than position players).
Kloffenstein’s fastball can sit in the low-90s and has touched touched, though reports note some consistency issues, as he’ll sometimes be more in the high-80s/low-90s. He has feel for a hard breaking ball, which Perfect Game rated as among the top 5 sliders in the high school class.
The kicker is that he has some feel for a change-up, and at times will be his best secondary. That’s an important ingredient for a starting pitcher, so further refining that in pro ball will be important, but it’s reassuring that the basic building blocks are there. He was also a top performer last summer on the showcase circuit, particularly the Area Code Games.
Kloffenstein was ranked significantly higher than where he was picked, for example 42nd by FanGraphs and 43rd by MLB.com, and also had a strong commitment to Texas Christian which is one of the premier college programs. Give that, it will almost certainly take well above the ~$650,000 slot value to sign him. But given that he was one of the first picks on the second day (after teams have the night to talk to prospect draftees), the Jays would not have taken him if they didn’t know his price and were willing to meet it (likely with some slot saving on Groshans).
This selection is notable in that it’s the first time in the Shapiro/Atkins era that the Blue Jays have drafted a player in not only the 100 picks, but in the top 10 rounds. Kloffenstein would be just the third high school pitcher signed in this their third draft after none were last year. After a couple of very heavy college drafts, it’s good to see some demographic diversity with the Jays having now taken a high school hitter, college hitter, and high school pitcher.