Boston Red Sox top-30 prospect rankings after the 2021 season

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 27: A general view of the game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on June 27, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 27: A general view of the game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on June 27, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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BOSTON, MA – APRIL 19: An American flag is dropped from the Green Monster prior to the start of the game between the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox in honor of Patriots Day at Fenway Park on April 19, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

No. 6: Red Sox starting pitching prospect Jay Groome

Jay Groome used 2021 to reestablish himself as one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. In his first start of the year, the left-handed pitcher allowed five earned runs in two innings. Then four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings. Next, three earned runs in three innings.

After that, he allowed 40 earned runs over his last 90 innings. Despite that terrible start and a select few other bad starts, Groome was phenomenal. The left-handed pitcher finished with a 4.81 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and .239 BAA. He struck out 134 batters in just 97 1/3 innings (although he did walk 36 batters) between High-A and Double-A.

Even more important, Groome made three starts in Double-A to finish the year. In those three starts the 23-year-old posted a 2.30 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and .211 BAA. He struck out 26 batters (compared to four walks) in 15 2/3 innings.

Groome has all the tools to be an elite pitcher. The only thing that has held him back has been a myriad of injuries. 2021 was his healthiest season. After knocking off the rust, he proved how good he can be.

He needs to work on his command a bit, but he has good control over his pitches (if that makes any sense). He tends to have the pitches working, but sometimes gets a little wild.

Groome’s fastball sits in the low-90s. I wouldn’t be surprised if he can ramp it up a few more miles though. Great movement, and can get a good amount of swings-and-misses. If he can keep the fastball under control, it could be a phenomenal pitch. That’s impressive, because if he does get a little more speed on it – this will be dangerous.

His changeup is actually the worst of his secondary pitches. That’s saying something because it’s still a really solid pitch. Actually, let me rephrase that. Groome’s changeup is his worst secondary pitch, right now. And that’s only because he isn’t very consistent with it. This could be a great pitch. It has deceptive movement, good dip, and sits in the high-70s to low-80s. However, sometimes it just isn’t working. It won’t dip, is obvious out of his hand, etc. That brings it down a bit, but when it’s on – it’s on.

Next is a slider with a sharp bite to it. Not crazy movement, but a good amount. Paired with the fact that it cuts so quickly, it can be pretty nasty. This pitch sits around the mid-80s and has plenty of potential. He just started working on it in 2020. So the fact that it’s already this good makes you think it has potential to be elite.

Finally there’s a curveball and wow is it disgusting. I’m pretty sure I’ve used this comp on Groome’s curve before but I don’t care. Remember prime Barry Zito? He came into the league and immediately became one of the best pitchers in baseball for like four years? A serious reason for that was his wicked curveball. Groome has the same potential here. High-70s to low-80s with phenomenal drop. Dips sharply and he has pretty solid command of it. This is already an MLB-level out-pitch. Give it another year or two and it could be one of those pitches you see 10 times on Pitching Ninja every time he starts.

Overall, Groome has sort of flown under the radar because of all the injuries that stumbled the start of his career. However, he’s back to being that elite-potential ace that everyone was hoping for when the Red Sox drafted him. Could be in the Majors relatively soon and could turn into a top-tier starter pretty fast.

Fastball: 60
Curveball: 70
Slider: 60
Changeup: 55
Control: 55
Overall: 60