8: SP Jay Groome
What to look for: Another season of good health
It feels like Jay Groome has been in the Red Sox system forever. Just 17 when he was taken with the twelfth overall pick in 2016, Groome has been slowly making his way up the Red Sox system while battling a litany of injuries. Tommy John surgery, lat and forearm issues, and the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season combined to limit Groome to just 66 innings as a pro in his first five seasons.
Groome finally managed to stay healthy in 2021, starting as many games last year (23) as he did in his minor league career to that point. His 4.81 ERA points to a disappointing season, but his 12.4 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 are encouraging signs. He also impressed in his three starts upon being called up to Portland, posting a 2.30 ERA and striking out 26 batters in 15.2 innings.
Groome has all the tools of a legitimate major league starter. He possesses a low-mid 90’s fastball that he complements with three average-to-above-average secondary offerings, most notably a biting, mid-80s slider. Scouts believe he has a clean delivery that will allow him to stick in the rotation.
The question for Groome will always be health. If he can make another 20 starts like he did last year, expect him to move up the prospect rankings and possibly make a late-season debut.