Boston Red Sox Prospects: Jay Groome has the swagger of an ace

Red Sox prospect Jay Groome has everything it takes to be an ace

The start to Jay Groome‘s career wasn’t exactly ideal. A first-round pick by the Boston Red Sox in 2016, his first three seasons saw the left-handed pitcher appear in just 20 games – tossing 66 total innings.

Year Four was a wash. The 2020 MiLB season was cancelled due to the pandemic. So we were entering Year Five of Groome’s career. He wasn’t even 70 innings in and 55 1/3 of those came in 2017 (2016 and 2018 both saw him record under 10 innings).

2021 got off to a rocky start in High-A. Three straight rough outings to begin the year dug Groome into a pretty deep hole. The left-handed pitcher quickly found his stride though, and soon we were getting treated to a lot of dominant outings. Despite the overall numbers still not looking great, Groome got a promotion towards the end of the year to Double-A. He had impressed for most of the year and it was really only a few bad starts hurting the numbers.

In three Double-A games, Groome posted a 2.30 ERA, .211 BAA, and 1.02 WHIP. He racked up 26 strikeouts compared to four walks in 15 2/3 innings. Overall on the year he finished with an impressive 134 punch outs in 97 1/3 innings (a new career-high).

In 2022, we’ve seen more positives. Groome’s appeared in 13 games, tossing 62 1/3 innings in that time. He has a 3.61 ERA, .214 BAA, and 1.25 WHIP. All those are career-bests in seasons where he pitched over 10 innings. The strikeouts are down (62), but he collected 10 in six innings on Tuesday, so that could be changing.

He’s still just 23 and has the talent to be a great pitcher in the Majors. Everyone knows that, it’s why he’s still the number 11 overall prospect in the Red Sox system.

Here’s something I noticed when I went to the games last week though. Groome has the swagger of an ace. Dude carries himself like a top guy. This isn’t an insult either, I’m not saying he’s cocky or thinks he’s better than anyone. But he has that demeanor that he’s there to do a job and kick ass at it. He was quick to sign autographs for kids and he had a smile on his face when he did it. But then it was back to business.

Having that type of mentality is important. Baseball is an insanely challenging game, both physically and mentally. And there was a knock on Groome when he was eligible to be drafted for his “immaturity” (excuse a high school kid for maybe not being 100% mature). That might have some Red Sox fans a little nervous. But he’s grown, and he has the attitude and mentality of an ace now.

When he took the mound it was like he hated the opposing hitters. Fearlessness, he was going to attack you. It worked too. In seven shutout innings, Groome allowed just two hits and four walks while striking out five.

Dude went out there, dominated every inning, and walked back to the dugout. If I knew nothing about baseball and you showed me the 6’6″, 262-pound pitcher that day I would’ve asked you who he was about to step into a boxing ring with. The look of a killer and the knowledge that he’s better than the opposing hitters.

There was nothing cute about the Red Sox pitching prospect’s performance. Okay, well that’s not true. His family was a row ahead of me and his baby daughter cheering him on was the most adorable thing I saw all day. And I’m sure Groome was ecstatic to see her before/after the game. But the opposing batters didn’t get that happy dad. They got a menacing presence that dominated from his first pitch to his last without changing the expression on his face.