Self scouting report: Blue Jays' Kloffenstein

May 19th, 2020

After being drafted by the Blue Jays in the third round of the 2018 Draft, Adam Kloffenstein threw just two innings against professional competition in his first season. Last year, the 19-year-old right-hander posted a 2.24 ERA over 13 starts and 64 1/3 innings with 23 walks and 64 strikeouts for the Vancouver Canadians in the Short-Season Northwest League, and he was hoping to see the progression continue in 2020.

With baseball suspended indefinitely it’s difficult to envision a scenario in which Kloffenstein might have enough time on the mound in order for that to happen. In spite of the hiatus, Toronto’s No. 9 prospect has continued to find ways to stay ready, hone his craft, and keep making strides based on the learning he’s already done since joining the pro ranks.

“I don’t think the pitcher I was in high school is going to be a whole lot different than the pitcher I am in the big leagues,” Kloffenstein said. “But it’s about mentally how far I’ve come, as far as the things I understand and the things I know are and aren’t going to help me.

“I’ve come to the realization that if you put me in the big leagues, I could compete physically and fit in as far as numbers go, but on the mental side, I’m not there yet. But it’s coming and that’s what I’m excited about.”

Evaluating himself using a Major League Scouting Bureau report and the 20-to-80 scouting scale, basing his grades on the standards set by the Bureau, Kloffenstein offered insight into what his future might hold.

Top tools
The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Texan gave himself top-of-the-scale future grades in his baseball instincts and aggressiveness on the mound, jumping each a half grade from where he believes he is presently.

“I probably get [my instincts] from my dad [John],” Kloffenstein said. “I’ve always tried to be a student of the game, and my dad was never easily impressed so that bled into me. I was always trying to get better somehow, pushing for more and expanding my horizons. When I was growing up my dad was like a baseball encyclopedia, so we would watch games and I would ask a ton of questions and play out different scenarios, so it comes from being a student of the game.

“I get my aggressiveness from him too, but I’m kind of an aggressive person in general. When I’m on the mound, I’m a totally different person and I don’t think anybody’s better than me. As soon as my outing’s over, that all goes away, but the whole day before an outing I’m in that zone, that mode, and having confidence in your stuff and conviction with what you’re doing definitely helps in being aggressive.”

Room for improvement
Jumping his fastball movement a full grade from present to future, Kloffenstein offered an above-average evaluation of his movement currently, with the potential to work up to making his fastball one of the best in the game.

“I’ve just touched the surface with some of the technology we have, Rapsodo, spin rates, all of that, and once I really start to understand what my ball does more, and once I start to be able to use the technology to my advantage, I can improve,” the teenaged hurler said. “I’ve seen my fastball turn into a totally different pitch, and I split it into two pitches, so there’s a lot of room. As I get older, grasp more of what’s going on at each level and learn from other guys and big leaguers, there can be a lot of damage done with that pitch.”

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Scouting the scout
Offering insight into his own game, the right-hander had some experience in the realms of scouting and grading when he filled out the evaluation.

“Being with [Blue Jays’ No. 2 prospect Jordan] Groshans at the same high school, we were pretty heavily scouted and I made friends with quite a few scouts,” Kloffenstein said. “I know what the 20-to-80 scale is ... and sometimes I would sit with scouts, see what they were doing, listen to what they were saying. I was pretty engulfed in the scouting world for a good 18 months a couple of years ago.”

What the scouts say
“He’s got great size, and he’s just a puppy at 19 years old,” one American League evaluator said. “He’s got more power in the tank to get his four-seamer up a little more than it was, but he got a lot of ground balls on the sinker and all his numbers last year were exceptional. He killed lefties more than righties, and you don’t see that often. He has a pretty good delivery, and I really like his breaking ball. He’s got a big league body, big league arm, and he can spin the ball pretty good.”

What’s missing
“There’s something to be said for being a competitor and a bulldog, and aggressiveness on the mound, and it’s hard to see on a piece of paper,” Kloffenstein said. “The way I carry myself on the field -- some people don’t like it -- I’ve gotten out of a lot of situations over the years from just believing, ‘Here’s my best, give me your best, let’s see who wins.’ … The mental part of my game is my strongest point, and that’s going to help me continuously ascend, at whatever speed it is, and hopefully pitch for a long time.”