With the 2016 MLB Draft rapidly approaching, top pitching prospect Jason Groome finds himself in the news for the wrong reasons: he was suspended yesterday by the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association for violating transfer regulations.
A senior at Barnegat High School in Barnegat, New Jersey, Groome is widely regarded as the top high school pitcher in the 2016 draft and perhaps the top prospect overall. The suspension (which lasts for 30 days or half the team's season) is a result of Groome pitching the 2015 season with IMG Academy in Florida. Groome is from New Jersey and pitched his freshman and sophomore years there, but moved to Florida for the spring of 2015 to increase exposure to scouts. He moved back to New Jersey this spring but apparently his address had never been formally changed last year.
This is a technical violation and apparently no one even reported it until he threw a no-hitter a few days ago, according to Baseball America.
This is more of an inconvenience than anything and nobody will hold this against Groome. Talent-wise he stands out as an outstanding prospect, a 6-6 lefty with a smooth delivery and a fastball up to 95-96 MPH; easy low-effort heat, as they say. He has a very impressive curveball. He has a change-up that is very good for a high school pitcher. He has no red flags with his command, his mechanics are about as good as they can be for his size and age, and his pitching instincts are as good as his stuff. There are no concerns about his make-up, either; the suspension thing should be a non-issue.
Groome is in the mix for 1-1 and barring a late injury catastrophe or insane bonus demands he won't get out of the top five. He has a Vanderbilt commitment to use as leverage or fall back on if something untoward happens. It is true that high school pitching is a risky demographic, but Groome has the physical and intangible traits that will be impossible to pass up.
Here's some video from Baseball America. Easy heat.
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