The summer is important for high school players, as showcases and tournaments allow area scouts and executives to get looks at players against the top talent in the class. It also allows hitters to build a wood bat history.
There aren’t many players who have done more this summer to establish a track record of hitting than Texas infielder Jordan Groshans, who plays for Magnolia (Texas) High and is committed to Kansas. Groshans’ older brother, Jaxx, just finished his freshman year at Kansas, where he started 53 games for the Jayhawks. Based on what the younger Groshans has done so far this summer, though, there’s a decent chance that he never reaches campus.
At the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field in July, Groshans showed fluid wrists in the box and above-average to plus arm strength while taking balls at shortstop in a workout, before hitting one of the hardest balls in-game. Groshans drove a 91-mph fastball into deep right-center field for a triple and continued to hit with authority at ensuing events.
About a week later at the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif., he squared up a 93-mph fastball from Jack Perkins (Kokomo (Ind.) High) and was one of the loudest bats at the Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego. In that event, Groshans went 1-for-3 with a no-doubt, line-drive homer to left and a walk against Georgia righthander Kumar Rocker. His home run came against hard-throwing New York righthander Lenny Torres, whose 95-mph fastball wasn’t enough heat to overpower Groshans.
While Groshans might wind up at third base down the line, thanks to a 6-foot-4 frame, he has made plays throughout the summer at shortstop, second and the hot corner. Additionally, size alone is no longer a legitimate justification for pushing a player off of shortstop (See Seager, Corey; and Correa, Carlos).
Baseball America caught up with Groshans after the PG Classic, to talk about what it was like playing in the game, pitchers he was impressed with, his home run and more.
Baseball America: What was the experience like playing in Petco Park with all of these guys?
Jordan Groshans: It was fun. I mean from the start that's all it was about, going out and competing, having fun with the top 53 guys. So just being out here is a huge honor.
BA: Can you walk us through the at-bat against Torres?
JG: I came up to the box. I've never faced him. I knew he was going to throw hard, so in my mind I just said sit on the fastball and try to do something with it and I did.
BA: As a hitter in this game, you have to go up against a ton of talented pitchers, just throwing it all out there in one-inning stints. Who was most impressive to you?
JG: I've played against Matthew Liberatore (Mountain Ridge High, Riverdale, Ariz.) but I've never been on the same team with him. And seeing him pitch tonight from the dugout was unbelievable, he's just nasty. Another one is J.T. Ginn (Brandon (Miss.) High). Nobody really knew who he was and now he's a big name. He's special. His stuff is dirty.
BA: You also showed you could pick it from shortstop on a slow roller from Elijah Cabell (The Next Level Academy, Altamonte Springs, Fla.), can you take us through that play?
JG: I mean, I knew Cabell when he hit it, that's a fast guy. He can run, so when I was coming on that I was just thinking get it and get rid of it fast. Hard throw to first and made a good play.
In addition to talking with Groshans about his play at the Perfect Game All-American Classic, Baseball America talked with a National League scout at the Under Armour All-America Game to break down Groshans’ mechanics at the plate. You can see several of the Texas prep slugger’s batting practice sessions during Under Armour below, followed by the scout’s perspective, which includes an interesting big league comparison.
“I have seen him hit earlier and today he just seemed to be trying way too hard to put it into orbit. Not the same swing as I’ve seen in-game. He has a good setup, sequence and extension. Those are all qualities that tell you he’ll hit for average and power down the road. Today he was getting a little out on his front side and flying open early.
“He reminds me a little of a young Matt Holliday as a player. Strong, with good feel for hitting. May have to tone it down a little in the box down the road. Extra-high leg kick may create timing issues as he climbs the ladder.”