The Red Sox had a stellar first pick on day one of the MLB Draft. They watched as Jason Groome, the 17 year old pitcher who for months had been viewed as the top pick overall fall to them at the 12th overall pick. Perfect Game has him ranked as the top player eligible for the draft
Yes, there are money issues: he is a Scott Boras client. The Red Sox only have a $3.2 million draft slot to start with trying to pay him with. That will probably require them to go cheap with some later picks. There was speculation by his agent during draft week pandering that he wants four million plus dollar amount or he would go to Junior college when he was being projected as one of the top overall picks.
Yes, there are make-up concerns: mostly due to not filing the right paper work when he returned to his home high school in New Jersey for his senior year from an IMG Florida school he had played for in his junior year.
But, what is real is that John Sickels of Minor League Ball has nothing but glowing reviews for Groome.
Talent-wise he stands out as an outstanding prospect, a 6-6 lefty with a smooth delivery and a fastball up to 95-96 MPH; easy low-effort heat, as they say. He has a very impressive curveball. He has a change-up that is very good for a high school pitcher. He has no red flags with his command, his mechanics are about as good as they can be for his size and age, and his pitching instincts are as good as his stuff. There are no concerns about his make-up, either.
What is also real is ESPN’s Keith Law’s immediate reaction
Red Sox will roll the dice on Jason Groome, the #2 player on my own board. One of the best HS curveballs I've ever seen.
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) June 10, 2016
Yes you read that right. Keith Laws says “One of the best HS curveballs I’ve ever seen.”
If that isn’t enough high praise, back on March 24 before all the New Jersey paperwork controversy peaked, there was this little tweet by Jon Heyman:
A GM on jason groome: "might be the best high school pitching prospect since clayton kershaw."
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 24, 2016
He even looks good in Red! Here the scouting reel.
With all the great bats in the Red Sox system it is great to finally draft a top arm. At age 17, he still has some development to go but there is potential to see him join Low A Greenville rotation later this summer that already consists of Anderson Espinoza (age 18), the Red Sox number 4 prospect, and Roenel Raudes (age 18) who was just named to the South Atlantic leagues All-Star team.