On Monday, Keith Law started off the baseball day by dropping the bottom half of his top 100 prospects list, the first of many that will be dispersed throughout the next few weeks. (In fact, Baseball America dropped theirs just a few hours later.) In that bottom half, the Red Sox had one prospect named in Michael Chavis, who came away with the number 76 rank. On Tuesday, Law released the rest of his list, and unsurprisingly one more Red Sox was named in that top half. It was, of course, Jason Groome, who came away with the number 30 rank. You can see the top half of Law’s rankings in their entirety here.
Once again, since Law’s posts are only for Insiders, I won’t give you everything he says about Boston’s top prospect. Gotta respect the paywall, ya know? That being said, we can get into it a little bit and try to figure out what it is that Law sees that caused him to rank him so highly. For one thing, I’ll add a little context and say that Groome was sandwiched between a couple of Rockies infielders in Brendan Rodgers and Ryan McMahon. As far as Groome himself goes, it’s clear that Law is still a believer in the stuff. There is an acknowledgement that the young southpaw had a disappointing year in 2017, but ultimately his stuff was more important. Law calls his curveball a grade-70 pitch (on the 20-80 scouting scale) and adds that Groome is working on a changeup that can flash plus on rare occasions and also identifies him as someone who could potentially add a cutter down the road. Despite the inconsistency, both health- and performance-wise, as a pro, Law still sees number two starter upside for Boston’s top prospect.
This comes on the heels of Baseball America ranking Groome as the 83rd best prospect in baseball. Obviously, 53 spots is a huge disparity, but it’s not a huge surprise given what kind of prospect Groome is. While Chavis is relatively close to the majors and is a known commodity as a power bat, Groome still hasn’t pitched all that much as a pro. Because of that, these opinions are all built off a few viewings and take a lot of projection. I think most agree the ceiling is high for Groome, but the likelihood of him reaching that ceiling (or something close to it) is going to be wildly different depending on the evaluator. That’s not even to mention each evaluator’s biases towards safety and proximity vs. youth and ceiling. Expect Groome’s rankings to be all over the place in lists all winter/spring long.