Jason Groome began the amateur baseball season as the almost unanimous choice for top prospect in the MLB draft. While there was some debate whether or not he would go 1-1 to the Phillies, most of that centered around the Phillies' preference for a college arm. After a strong season at IMG Academy in Florida and a good showing on the summer circuit, Groome returned home to New Jersey for what most expected would be a dominant senior season.
Things started well with a 19-strikeout no-hitter, but things fell apart quickly after that. Groom was temporarily suspended for violating the New Jersey transfer rules and has struggled to live up to the hype since returning. Combined with some great performances by guys like Riley Pint, Kyle Lewis, and Mickey Moniak, Groome's status as the top dog in the draft has taken a serious hit.
Jason Groome's Strengths
There's a lot to like about Jason Groome, he has a good fastball that can reach 96 mph, a great curveball, and good feel for a changeup that should improve with more consistent use. For a high school pitcher, Groome has good feel for pitching and has demonstrated some excellent control in his past.
Physically, Groome has the prototypical, front-of-the-rotation frame. Standing 6'6 already and weighing 220 pounds, there's still a little room for maturity, though a professional workout routine might do more to help his strength. Groome also has clean mechanics and a smooth delivery.
Our final mock draft of the first 45 picks, from Round 1 to Competitive Balance Round A
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Jason Groome's Weaknesses
There's no major weakness with Groome, which is why he's one of the top prospects. However, this spring there's been quite a few minor concerns that could affect his draft status.
First, his velocity hasn't been what most expected; while he still hits the mid-90s early in games, it's tailed off quickly and the reports say that he's sitting 88-91 for the majority of the game. Groome has also struggled with command at times during games. There are also concerns about maturity issues that have arisen this spring. Finally, and maybe the biggest thing that will result ins a team bypassing him, Groome has been rumored to have some fairly large signing bonus demands
To be fair, all of those concerns are fairly minor and some potentially completely false. Prospects who have been at the top of the draft board the longest are usually the most scrutinized and that could be the case here with Groome.
Why the Rockies will draft Jason Groome
The Rockies draft Jason Groome if they are convinced that his upside is still the highest in the draft and they are satisfied with their their pre-draft interview and investigation. Because of the perceived issues, Groome's team interviews may have been the most important of any player at the top of the draft. If the Rockies are satisfied, it would be hard to argue against picking the top left-handed prep pitcher in the draft that has a legitimate ace ceiling.
Why the Rockies won't draft Jason Groome
There are a couple of reasons why the Rockies may not draft Groome. The first would be that they are no longer convinced that he has the best potential of the available players at the fourth overall pick. Pint and Moniak have really raised their draft stock this spring by continuing to show improvement while Groome simply hasn't grown.
The other reason why the Rockies may not draft Groome is if they are worried that the issues that have arisen this spring are more serious, or that they will be unable to meet his signing demands. Teams put a lot of time into these early selections because they can have a huge impact on a team's future if you make the right or wrong choice, and if the Rockies are uncomfortable with Groome they could move on to a selection with fewer question marks.
Review our other mock draft profiles (from least to most likely) and check back often as we release more:
May 25 - A.J. Puk , LHP, Florida
May 26 - Dakota Hudson, RHP, Mississippi State
May 27 - Kyle Lewis, OF, Mercer
May 31- Blake Rutherford, OF, Chaminade Prep
June 1 - Delvin Perez, SS, Puerto Rico
June 3 - Corey Ray, OF, Louisville