By: Brian Frank
Growing up in Magnolia, Texas, baseball was deeply ingrained in Jordan Groshans and his older brother Jaxx at an early age.
“My dad had us out there hitting wiffle balls since we were about four or five years old,” said the younger Groshans, who’s now starring for the Bisons.
Jordan played shortstop as a child and Jaxx, who was two years ahead of Jordan in school, played catcher. Both Groshans brothers went on to play professional baseball. Jaxx currently plays for the Greenville Drive, the high-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
Groshans is rated as the Blue Jays number three prospect. Photo Credit: Brian M. Frank, The Herd Chronicles
“Growing up we always played on the same team until probably about high school and the year after he graduated,” Groshans remembered. “Then we kind of drifted apart as far as playing on the same team.”
Even though professional baseball has led Jordan and Jaxx to different sections of the country, they still talk regularly.
“I talk to him every morning,” Groshans said. “We just talk about life. I know talking about baseball can get stressful, so we kind of pick and choose when to do so.”
Jordan Groshans entered professional baseball when he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays out of Magnolia High School with the twelfth overall pick of the 2018 June Amateur Draft. Even though he’d committed to Kansas, where Jaxx was a sophomore, the decision to turn professional was an easy one.
“The Blue Jays were one team that showed a lot of interest in me,” he remembered. “I was really excited to get picked and to get to work. It was awesome. I was ready to go.”
Groshans says he doesn’t let the pressure of being a first-round pick affect him.
“Not really,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s just a game. I mean my first couple of years in pro ball I looked too much into that stuff and didn’t play to the best of my ability. Now I’m just out having fun doing what I do.”
Groshans has played shortstop and third base for the Herd. Photo Credit: Brian M. Frank, The Herd Chronicles.
Groshans has moved up quickly through the Blue Jays system. In 2018, he slashed .331/.390/.500 in thirty-seven games for the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays. He continued to prosper in 2019, when he slashed .337/.427/.482 for the Lansing Lugnuts in the Class A Midwest League, but a foot injury limited him to just twenty-three games. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the 2020 minor-league season was shut down. Fortunately for Groshans’ development, his season wasn’t completely derailed because he was invited to the Blue Jays summer camp at Rogers Centre in Toronto and then to the team’s alternate training site at Frontier Field in Rochester.
“When everybody else missed a year, I was fortunate enough to keep seeing pitching, big-league pitching,” he said. “Being able to work with some older guys and get some approach and routine stuff down for these years coming up. It was really beneficial.”
In 2021, Groshans continued to show promise, slashing .291/.367/.450 at Double-A New Hampshire, but his season was once again shortened due to injury.
Currently rated as the Blue Jays third overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, Groshans started his season a little late this year due to an oblique injury. He joined the Bisons on April 29 and collected an RBI single in his first Triple-A at-bat. He went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI in his Bisons debut – and hasn’t slowed down since. He’s currently hitting .308 with eight RBI through eleven games with the Herd.
Bisons manager Casey Candaele has been impressed with what he's seen from Groshans.
"Good barrel awareness at the plate," Candaele said. "He's always been very adept at understanding where his barrel is and getting it to the baseball. He's a hard worker. He wants to be really good defensively and knows that's important. That's what he's going to work on. He's here with the right attitude and he's doing the right things."
Groshans has played a solid shortstop for the Bisons – but like many of the Blue Jays current crop of prospects, he now plays more than one position. He still primarily plays short, but he’s also added third base to his defensive repertoire.
“It’s something I’m ready for. I’m preparing for it. I’m doing early work and trying to just be the best player I can be in the end.”
Despite the offensive numbers he’s consistently put up from year-to-year, Groshans doesn’t like to set goals for himself heading into a new season.
“When I set expectations and set standards and goals, then if I don’t reach them I feel like I didn’t perform, and that’s not always the case,” he said. “So just sticking to who I am and having fun is what I’m doing.”
One thing that is quickly apparent when speaking with Groshans, or watching him play, is the fact that he’s confident in his abilities.
“I think it’s important,” he explained. “Especially in this game. You fail most of the time. So having that confidence to bounce back after a tough night and come back out here and go off the next night is a big part of it. If you don’t have that confidence, you’re not going to make it far.”
Groshans has hit everywhere he’s been. He believes his biggest strength at the plate is knowing the strike zone.
“I would say probably just the knowledge of the zone. That’s something that I’ve really worked on and tried to watch a lot of video. Know the strike zone. Know the pitchers that I’m facing.”
Groshans is currently hitting .308. Photo Credit: Brian M. Frank, The Herd Chronicles.
He also noted that he’s focusing on keeping himself healthy. A big part of trying to keep himself on the field and off the injured list has been taking better care of his body.
“Nutrition, eating right, putting the right stuff in my body,” he said. “Learning the difference between going in and just lifting heavy and lifting smart and doing baseball related lifts. Stuff like that to help me on the field.”
“I’m trying to stay on the field as long as possible. That’s important to me. Getting those things done and taking care of myself is huge.”
His hot start with the Herd is hopefully a precursor of bigger things on the horizon for the twenty-two year old.
“It’s been good,” he said of his fast start at Triple-A. “I’m having fun with it and just playing the game. Just got to keep it going.”