The Red Sox farm system suffered a pretty major blow right before the minor-league season opened up last month when it was announced that Michael Chavis, the top prospect in the entire system according to some, would be suspended 80 games for failing a PED test. Well, they suffered an even bigger blow to the guy who was the closer-to-consensus top prospect in the system. Wednesday evening we learned from a report via Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal that Jason Groome would have to undergo Tommy John surgery. Obviously, this will keep him out for the rest of the season, and he’s probably going to end up missing most of the 2019 season as well.
Groome, if you’ll recall, had his 2017 season cut short due to forearm issues, causing obvious concern. However, he came into spring training after a winter of working out with Chris Sale and by all accounts looked incredible. He was making hitters look silly and it appeared the injury concerns were behind him. Then, he was shut down for a bit right before the season kicked off with the same forearm issue, but it didn’t seem overly concerning based on reports. Apparently, things have gotten worse, to say the least.
I’m really not even sure what else there is to say besides that it sucks. Obviously, it sucks for the Red Sox as they lose their best prospect and one of the highest ceilings from a pitcher in the entire game. Groome’s obviously not really close to the majors and there’d be a lot of development left even if he was healthy right now, but the talent is very real. Now he misses almost two years of development. That’s a major blow to a farm system that was already lacking top-end talent.
More than that, though, this sucks for Groome himself. This is a kid who has worked his entire life to get to this point and just hasn’t been able to get his professional career off the ground. This 2018 season was a big one for the lefty as he looked to prove his talent was going to translate and get him to the highest level. Having to sit out for just about two years rehabbing a major arm injury is brutal.
That being said, this is by no means a death sentence for his career or anything. This is still only his age-19 season, so he should be back to full health for his age-21 season. Tommy John surgery isn’t as big of a slam dunk as it has appeared to become in recent years, but there’s no denying the long and recent track record of pitchers making a full recovery after their rehab. Groome still has the potential to be a big part of this organization’s future, but we’re going to have to wait longer than we expected to see it. Baseball is cruel sometimes.