As is typically the case in these kind of votes, and is particularly true this year, there is very little surprise for who took the top spot in this year’s OTM community prospect rankings. Taking almost 60 percent of the votes, Jason Groome is our top prospect in the Red Sox farm system for 2018.
Groome, as you’ll recall, was the team’s first round pick in 2016, being selected 12th overall in that draft. There were times in the spring leading up to that draft that the then-high schooler was seen as a potential number one overall pick, but that shine wore off as the draft got closer. For reasons ranging from sign-ability concerns and potential makeup issues, Groome fell outside the top ten. That gave Boston a rare opportunity to take an impact talent in the middle of the first round, and they didn’t pass up that chance. The southpaw ended up coming to Boston for a $3.65 million signing bonus. Understandably, the team limited Groome’s exposure in his first season with the organization and he tossed only 6 2⁄3 innings between the GCL and Lowell after being drafted.
That led to some excitement heading into the 2017 season, which seemed to be the time that Groome could really show us all of the talent he had in his arm. As expected, the lefty began the year in Greenville as a 19-year-old and the plan was to keep him in that rotation for the entire season. Unfortunately, things didn’t really work out that way. Injuries derailed the year for the top prospect, and they got started early. Groome left his first start of 2017 with a lat injury that held him out of action until the middle of June. He’d make his way back for a couple of months before being shut down with a forearm strain at the end of August, though it didn’t seem serious enough to have us worried about him for the start of this year.
When Groome was on the mound, the results were inconsistent. He made three rehab appearances down in Lowell in which he pitched to a 1.64 ERA over 11 innings with 14 strikeouts and five walks. Moving up to Greenville, though, things didn’t stay as strong. By the end of the year he had a 6.70 ERA in A-Ball with 58 strikeouts and 25 walks in 44 1⁄3 innings, though that doesn’t really tell the whole story. There were night where he was shining, including one six-inning outing with no runs and eight strikeouts and a handful of five-shutout-inning nights. On the other hand, he had three games in which he allowed at least five runs including one in which he allowed nine runs in just 1 1⁄3 innings. It should also be mentioned that he had some personal issues with his father being arrested in the middle of the season. Those kind of things would affect anyone, never mind a 19-year-old in his first full season of professional baseball.
Although Groome’s performance was a cause for at least some concern last year, the scouting reports for the lefty remain promising and are why he is the top prospect in the system. Standing at 6’6” and 220 pounds, he has the body to be a major-league starter. He pairs the physical stature with a solid delivery and a good fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s but can get much higher according to some reports. More importantly, his secondaries are what will get him to his ceiling if he is to reach it. His curveball is the real winner here, as it received rave reviews when he was drafted and has the potential to be a well above-average pitch. Along with that, he has a developing changeup and he’s working on adding a cutter into the mix that could turn into his third-best pitch.
Looking ahead to 2018, it’s not entirely clear where Groome will begin his season. One would have hoped that he’d be in High-A right now, but after an inconsistent and incomplete 2017, I would put my imaginary money on him starting the year back in Greenville. If he succeeds there, it should give him a much-needed boost in confidence and he’ll be up in Salem by June. We’re still talking about a very young pitcher, but now is the time for Groome to take the next step forward. The good news is that he’s been working out with Chris Sale this winter, and I can’t imagine a reason why that could possibly be a bad thing.
So, we’re one down and here is our comprehensive list to date:
- Jason Groome
Our voting continues....right now! As you may or may not have seen in our last post, you guys let me down with he poll system and we’re going to have to ditch it. Unfortunately, at least one person tried to game the system and flooded the poll for Bryan Mata. It didn’t matter in this vote, but when things get closer and there are more realistic options, those kind of shenanigans will totally alter the result. So, unfortunately, we have to go to the rec system even though that will severely lower the number of people who will participate.
In order to vote now, you’ll have to head down into the comment sections where I’ll leave spaces to vote for various prospects in the system. To cast your vote, hit the “rec” star at the bottom of that comment, and the prospect with the most recs will go take the vote. If the player you’d like to vote with isn’t included, create a comment for that player and that will count as his first vote. There are fewer people voting in this system, and that means there’s a better chance of a tie. In that scenario I will be the tie-breaking vote because I am a power-hungry egomaniac.
To participate in this, you have to be a member of the blog. You can sign up (it’s free, don’t worry I’m not swindling you for prospect votes) by clicking the human icon at the top of the screen next to the Facebook icon. Sorry for the inconvenience, I really do hate doing it like this, but people on the internet are extremely rude.
P.S. Another side effect of this change is that these posts are going to go up obscenely early so I can get the comments in before I leave for work. So, on Friday, expect these to be up by 5 A.M. It’ll be more like 7:30-ish on Tuesdays.