The Red Sox have promoted top pitching prospect Jay Groome to Double-A Portland, per MiLB.com’s transaction wire.
Groome, 23, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 9 prospect in the Sox’ farm system, ranking fourth among pitchers in the organization.
Boston originally selected the left-hander with the 12th overall pick in the 2016 amateur draft out of Barnegat High School (N.J.) and later signed him for $3.65 million that July.
After an injury-riddled 2017 season, Groome underwent Tommy John surgery the following spring, resulting in him missing the entirety of 2018 and the majority of the 2019 campaign.
While the COVID-19 pandemic prevented Groome from pitching in any meaningful games last year, the New Jersey native still got work in at the Red Sox’ alternate training site and fall instructional league before being added to the club’s 40-man roster in November in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft.
Invited to his first major-league camp earlier this spring, Groome opened the 2021 season at High-A Greenville and posted a 5.16 ERA and 4.13 FIP to go along with 75 strikeouts to 24 walks over 12 starts spanning 52 1/3 innings pitched through July 7.
At that time, Groome stepped away from the affiliate for the birth of his daughter and did not return until July 30. In six starts with the Drive since then, the lefty put up a 5.52 ERA and 4.76 FIP — as well as a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 33:8 — over 29 1/3 total innings of work.
Among High-A East pitchers with at least 80 innings under their belt this season, Groome ranks first in strikeouts per nine innings (11.9), first in strikeout rate (30.8%), and third in xFIP (3.97), per FanGraphs.
Despite some of those numbers being underwhelming, Groome has still earned himself a promotion to Portland and will make his highly-anticipated Sea Dogs debut as they face off against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays affiliate) in Manchester on Saturday night.
Per his Baseball America scouring report, the 6-foot-6, 251 pound hurler operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a 92-95 mph fastball that “has missed a ton of bats” this year, a curveball that “has been more of an average pitch” post-Tommy John, a recently-added slider, and a changeup.
As he prepares to make his first start at the Double-A level on Saturday night, Groome will don the No. 46 with the Sea Dogs.
UPDATE: Groome’s first start with Portland went well, as he scattered just two hits and zero walks to go along with a career-high 10 strikeouts over five innings of work. 53 of the 83 pitches he threw went for strikes.
(Picture of Jay Groome: Billie Weiss/MLB Photos via Getty Images)