4:13pm: Miami cleared the active roster spot by placing Avisail Garcia on the 10-day injured list with a hamstring issue, tweets Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Garcia has had a rough first season in South Florida, hitting only .230/.267/.316 through 357 plate appearances.
11:30am: The Marlins are planning to select the contract of infielder Jordan Groshans, reports Craig Mish of the Miami Herald. Groshans is not currently on Miami’s 40-man roster, though they already have a vacancy there. A corresponding move will be required to get Groshans onto the active roster.
Groshans, 22, is a former first round pick of the Blue Jays, getting selected 12th overall in 2018. He played 48 games in rookie ball after that draft and jumped onto Baseball America’s top 100 list, coming in at #89 going into 2019. Groshans then went to A-ball and mashed to the tune of .337/.427/.482, though was limited to just 23 games by a foot injury. BA continued to believe in the results and bumped him all the way up to #29 on their list going into 2020.
After the pandemic wiped out the minor leagues that year, Groshans came into 2021 having only played 23 games over the previous two years. He spent the year at Double-A and showed little rust, at least in terms of putting the bat on the ball, walking in 10.8% of his plate appearances while striking out in just 19.3% of them. However, a back injury limited him to 75 games and seemed to prevent him from providing much power. He hit seven long balls in that time but still put up a healthy batting line of .291/.367/.450, wRC+ of 124.
Coming into 2022, he slid off of BA’s top 100 but was still considered the #4 prospect in Toronto’s system. Their report complimented his feel for the strike zone and all-fields approach but raised concerns about his power potential and inability to stay healthy for a full season. The Jays had Groshans in Triple-A for most of the year, where did manage to stay healthy but still struggled to bring much pop. In 67 games for the Bisons, he walked at a 12.5% rate and struck out just 16.5% of the time but went over the fence just once. That led to a slash line of .250/.348/.296, wRC+ of 81.
The Jays flipped Groshans to the Marlins just prior to the deadline, getting Anthony Bass, Zach Pop and Edward Duran (as a player who was named later) in return. Since then, Groshans has played 31 games for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, hitting .301/.398/.416. That’s a much nicer looking slash line than what he did in Buffalo, though it includes just another two home runs, bringing his season total to three.
Groshans is currently listed as the #9 Marlins prospect at Baseball America, #11 at FanGraphs and #12 at MLB Pipeline. All three reports highlight the quality strike zone work but raise concerns about the lack of power. Whether his profile at the plate proves useful might depend on his eventual defensive position. Groshans has primarily been a shortstop in his career thus far, though also played elsewhere on the infield. Since acquiring him, the Marlins have split his time almost evenly between second, third and short. Most reports suggest he’s better suited to third base than shortstop, which would mean he’d need to take a step forward in the power department. Corner infielders are generally expected to provide more thump than their counterparts up the middle, making the overall Groshans package an unusual one at the moment.
For the Marlins, they came into this season with designs on competing. Their pitching was in good shape but they knew they needed to improve the lineup, adding Jorge Soler, Avisail Garcia, Joey Wendle and Jacob Stallings. Unfortunately, all four of that group has fallen short of expectations, with many of Miami’s in-house options also struggling. The team as a whole has hit .229/.294/.361 for a wRC+ of 86 that’s 27th in the majors. That’s a big reason why the club has limped to a 58-83 record this year and are well out of contention.
With just about three weeks left on the schedule, the Fish can use that time to evaluate some younger players before deciding on their offseason plan of attack. Groshans will step into an infield mix that includes Wendle, Jon Berti, Brian Anderson, Miguel Rojas, Garrett Cooper and Charles Leblanc. There’s also Jazz Chisholm Jr., who won’t return this season due to a back injury but figures to be the regular second baseman next year.
For Groshans, it’s possible that the extended absences from the pandemic and his injuries have prevented him from getting into a good grove and he’s still blossoming. He’s also still just 22 years old, turning 23 in November, giving him time to develop different facets of his game. For a Marlins club that’s been searching for offense for quite some time, they will be hoping he can find that extra gear. With Wendle, Anderson, Rojas and Cooper all slated for free agency after 2023, there could be plenty of openings for a long-term job if he does.