In a recent post on BPKansasCity, Clint Scoles explained the Royals interest in two prospects: Jordan Groshans and Jordyn Adams. The Royals have been heavily linked to both prospects, and Scoles breaks down why the team might be interested. It’s a great piece; if you haven’t read it, you should.
But I want to draw a more clear distinction between these two. To be blunt, I want to explain why drafting Groshans at 18 would be a mistake but drafting Adams at 18 is ok (though I prefer others to him). Of course, analyzing high school players is inherently risky. Maybe both will change, grow, and become superstars. Maybe neither will. Maybe I’m completely wrong about Groshans, and he’ll be the greatest Royal since George Brett.
But for now, I have major concerns.
So, we’ll start with Groshans, and then I will explain why Adams is my preferred brand of Jordyn.
The central part of my concern in drafting Groshans is the position he plays. Or rather, the position he plays and his swing. He projects as a third baseman, and his swing is rough. I know he’s had some success in showcases and in high school, but that swing is full of things a hitting coach is going to have to change.
Looking at this video of him a few things stick out that trouble me, and I’ll list them from most troubling to least.
1. His weight transfer. He’s actually improved it from the summer when it was even more pronounced, but he still has an issue with weight transfer. He lacks balance. After his huge leg kick, Groshans shifts his weight to his front side, rather than staying centered, then drops anchor and rotates to contact. This actually negates his power potential and leaves him extremely vulnerable to offspeed pitches.
2. His load path. Watch his hands in this video. Rather than simply drawing them back as he loads, he drops them and pushes them away from his body before drawing them back to a loaded position. That wasted motion makes for a more complicated swing. More complicated swings often lead to struggles with timing and prolonged slumps.
3. His bat plane. Like the weight transfer issue, his bat plane has gotten better this spring, but it’s still too flat. If he’s going to be a third baseman, he’ll have to hit for power. To do that, he’ll need a more lofted swing.
4. Huge leg kick. Speaking of things that cause timing issues, Groshans has a huge leg kick. Some players make it work with a big leg kick—Matt Holliday comes to mind. But a big leg kick makes timing more difficult to find and maintain. Minimizing the leg kick isn’t too difficult to change, but it’ll come at the end of a long line of changes.
All of these things wouldn’t be a big deal if Groshans weren’t projected to play third base, a position that requires significant offensive output. Picking 18th overall, I’d rather take someone whose swing indicates a higher probability of offensive success, someone I didn’t think needed significant changes, at a primarily offensive position. Or, someone who isn’t going to have to live on his offense … like Adams.
Groshans has potential for sure, but at 18 he represents too much downside to me. It’s not just that he has a low floor, which I think he does, it’s that he has a low probability of reaching his high ceiling.
Adams has many of the same issues as Groshans (minus the weight shift problem), but he plays a premium position. Adams is worth it at 18 because his ceiling and floor are both higher, as is his probability of becoming at least a serviceable big leaguer.
As you can see, Adams’ swing isn’t a work of art either. Same problem with his load path, same big leg kick. If he had a sweater swing, he’d be getting top-15 or top-10 talk. If he can simplify those swing mechanics, he’ll take advantage of his athleticism and natural strength.
If Adams smooths out his swing and realizes his power potential, he’ll be an All-Star. But if he doesn’t, he’s always got his speed and defensive ability in center. If Adams hits .250/.310/.410 and plays great defense in center, he’s servicable. If Groshans puts up that slash line, he’ll be a 4A player, even with what will probably be solid defense at third.
Taking signing issues out of the equation, Adams seems like the better option at 18 … at least of these two.