Lefty pitcher Jason Groome is one of the top prospects being considered by the Philadelphia Phillies with the top pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft.
Last month I began a series on the Phillies potential #1 overall MLB 2016 Amateur Draft picks. That first piece focused on University of Florida lefty, A.J. Puk, on whom the Phillies brass is particularly high.
In his brief tenure, new GM Matt Klentak has stressed the importance of good pitching to a contending team. So this second in the continuing series focuses on another dominant young lefty pitcher, Ocean County native Jason Groome.
Groome spent his junior season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida with former Phillies pitcher Steve Frey as his pitching coach. He has since decided to return to his hometown Barnegat High School for his senior year.
Frey spoke very highly of the young lefty, as reported by Philly.com’s Frank Fitzpatrick back in August: “It’s a beautiful thing throwing 97 and looking effortless doing it.”
Groome is committed to play college ball at Vanderbilt, but all that could change if he is selected early in the June 2016 MLB draft. Fangraphs had him listed at #1 on their Top 15 prospects in the 2015-2016 draft showcase this past summer.
Groome is 6’6 and 220 lbs, and touches 97 mph on his fastball with ease. He also features a solid curve and change-up as secondary pitches.
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At just 16 years old, the sky would appear to be the limit for this potential front-of-rotation ace caliber pitcher. During his junior year at IMG Academy, Groome went 5-0 with a phenomenal 0.98 ERA. He recorded 77 strike outs against just 9 walks over 43 innings pitched. His 16.1 strikeouts per nine innings pitched was an incredible show of dominance.
One argument against selecting Groome with the top overall pick is that, as a high schooler, he may need more time to develop then a collegiate arm such as Puk or former Phillies first rounder Aaron Nola. But his stuff might make it difficult for the Phillies to pass on him next June.
Klentak stated that the Phillies will take the best player available, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise if they select Groome should he separate himself by continuing to flat-out dominate the competition in his senior year at Barnegat.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted a photo of Groome and his younger brother at Citizen’s Bank Park earlier this month when the youngster met with the Phillies staff. Groome captioned the photo with the hashtags #dreamchasin and #hometownkid. Imagine how incredible it would be to hear his name called by Rob Manfred as his “hometown” Phillies make him the top pick in the 2016 MLB Draft?