Blaze Jordan finally felt what it was like to be a part of the Red Sox organization during instructional league play this fall. Jordan, the Sox’ third-round draft choice in June, spent an entire summer working out in his home state of Mississippi after the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the cancellation of the minor league season. So, once he finally arrived at the Sox’ facility in Fort Myers, Fla., and returned to the baseball diamond, Jordan quickly found his comfort zone.
“It was easy to settle in,” the 17-year-old Jordan said last week by phone. “The coaches, they were great, and the guys, they were great, too. Overall, I felt like I got a lot better while I was down there and I was able to get a lot of good instruction down there, too.”
Beginning in middle school, Jordan was known as one of the top power-hitting amateurs in the country. Few could replicate his ability to hit tape-measure shots. This past summer marked the first time in a while that Jordan couldn’t display that power. However, once baseball resumed, Jordan’s skill set was still evident.
“Having seen him so much as an amateur, you almost get a little sense of prospect fatigue,” said Red Sox amateur scouting director Paul Toboni, who had a huge say in drafting Jordan. “But it’s kind of refreshing when you see him pop into instructional league and you see some of our player-development guys wide-eyed. He’s got crazy bat speed and is going to have good power.”
Said Jordan: “I was seeing the ball really well. I still have to make a few adjustments.”
One of those adjustments is pitch selection, something both Toboni and Jordan acknowledged as an area for improvement.
“He’s got hand-eye coordination, he can handle different pitch types,” Toboni said. “He does a lot of things that are conducive to being a good hitter with time. For me, I think when it’s going to click, he’s going to find a way to shrink the zone and force pitchers to come into him.”
Controlling the strike zone and remaining disciplined are often problematic for young players, particularly a player with Jordan’s ability. At the amateur level, advanced hitters can often fall into bad habits like chasing pitches out of the strike zone just because they have the ability to square them up.
Yet, as competition stiffens, so does the pitching and the velocity, forcing hitters to focus on not expanding. It’s a skill that Toboni said he thinks Jordan will discover with time, maturation, and more at-bats.
On the defensive side, Jordan strictly played third base. He said the Sox helped him with his positioning and simplified his glove action. He had a habit of flipping his glove prior to fielding a grounder. The Sox eliminated that.
“The game was a lot quicker, but I was able to slow it down by making those adjustments,” Jordan said. “I’m pretty confident playing over there next season, too.”
If there is one question mark, it’s Jordan’s defense. Jordan, who doesn’t turn 18 until Dec. 19, already carries a mature frame at 6 feet 2 inches, 218 pounds. He’s not the most athletic player for the position, and perhaps he fits the profile of a first baseman.
Nevertheless, the Sox have said that they feel Jordan could stick at third base. He can sometimes be rigid and lack fluidity, but Toboni, too, is confident he can play the position.
“I think he has a legitimate shot to stay there,” Toboni said. “I think most teams, probably as an amateur, take him as a first baseman.
“But the one thing about Blaze is that he’s incredibly mature. I think he has a good feel for implementing the adjustments that he has to make. I think that’s oftentimes overlooked. But if he knows the adjustments he has to make, he’s going to work toward making those adjustments.”