Red Sox draft HS pitcher Jason Groome in 1st round; can they sign him?

BOSTON (WHDH) - With the No. 12 overall pick, the Red Sox managed to snag one of the top pitchers in the MLB Draft.

Wondering how he fell so far? We’ll get to that.

Jason Groome, a left-handed pitcher out of Barnegat High School in New Jersey, has what some draft experts have called the best curveball of any prospect in the draft. Groome throws hard, has a big frame at 6-foot-6, and he has three pitches that could project to be outstanding at the major league level. High school pitchers typically take longer to develop, so there’s still plenty of development left, but Groome was at one point considered as a pitcher who could have been drafted No. 1 overall.

Instead, he fell to 12th.

The main reason is signability. New rules in the MLB Draft give each team a specific amount of money to sign all of their draft picks. Go over that allotted money in one year and you’re penalized in the subsequent year. Teams with less allotted money are more likely to select college players, who don’t have the option to return to school, over high school players who could still attend college and potentially get more money later.

The Red Sox, who only have $7 million to spend on all of their draft picks, may have a hard time signing a high school player whose agent is reportedly asking for a very high signing bonus – one the Red Sox don’t necessarily have the money to give. If they don’t sign him, the Red Sox get the first-round pick back next year. If they do, they have a pitcher some are calling the best prospect since Clayton Kershaw.

And Groome has made it no secret that the Red Sox are his favorite team. After decommitting from Vanderbilt this spring, the option for Groome is a small college in Florida, Chipola. The Red Sox may still get their prospect after all.

Will he sign or won’t he? That’s the big question for the moment. But if any team is in the right position, it’s Boston.

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