Published On: Thu, Jun 14th, 2018

Top pick Groshans enters Blue Jays’ buddy system

What attracted Jordan Groshans to the Blue Jays was the organization’s family-oriented, team-first message — no one’s better than the next guy, regardless of whether you were picked in the first, second or 40th round of Major League Baseball’s amateur draft.

“Everybody’s equal,” said Groshans, 18, a shortstop picked 12th overall by the Jays last week and signed on Tuesday. “We go out every day with the same purpose, you have a plan, and that to me was big. Right away, I knew the Blue Jays would be a great organization for me and my buddy.”

Top Blue Jays draft pick Jordan Groshans is starting his journey on the road to the majors at the club’s Dunedin training base.
Top Blue Jays draft pick Jordan Groshans is starting his journey on the road to the majors at the club’s Dunedin training base.  (Twitter)

His buddy is Adam Kloffenstein, 17, a right-handed pitcher taken 88th by Toronto. They were teammates at Magnolia (Texas) High School in the Houston area, and their friendship goes back to fifth grade when Groshans moved from Dallas and Kloffenstein quickly took him under his wing at a new school.

Since then, Groshans says, they’ve been more like brothers, getting the best out of each other on and off the field.

“Going through our senior year, going through this whole process, knowing that we were going through the same thing, it helped a lot because of the information that we could share with each other … Having him here with me now and before has been unbelievable,” Groshans said.

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The six-foot-three, 178-pound middle infielder signed for a reported $ 3.4 million (all dollars U.S.), below the $ 4.2-million slotted signing bonus, according to MLB.com’s Jim Callis. Meanwhile, Kloffenstein — six-foot-five and 243 pounds — agreed to a reported $ 2.45-million deal, well above his $ 642,900 slot value. Groshans said the contract talks were not related.

Now starting his career at the Blue Jays’ minor-league base in Dunedin, Fla., Groshans says he’s happy to see a familiar face at a time of change.

“Sometimes it’s hard for high school kids to come out here by ourselves and adjust to the pro life: the hotel rooms, the fields, the instructions,” he said. “It’s big for me and for him, having each other here, because we have each other’s backs … We’re there for each other, and the most important thing is, we’re having fun. We’re enjoying the process and being here. It’s awesome that we get to do this together. I wish more best friends could get to do this.”

Groshans has also received a welcome assist from Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who is still rehabbing in Florida after surgery on both heels and has shared advice on fielding, swing mechanics and the mental aspects of the game.

The latter is something Groshans expects to work hard on in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, close to the Jays’ complex that offers high-level sports science instruction.

Not that the young shortstop lacks confidence.

“I believe that to be successful in baseball you have to be as confident as you can when you’re out on the field, so that’s how I like to play,” he said. “Being around the Latin kids and even college guys out here, I’ll have to stay confident, remain humble.

“I like to go out there and just try really hard, go to work, because at the end of the day if you want to make it to the next level — Double-A, Triple-A — you’ve got to be confident and you have to work hard.”

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Top pick Groshans enters Blue Jays’ buddy system