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Expectations for Jay Groome after a strong finish to 2021

Over the last few years, Jay Groome has become a familiar name to Red Sox fans. Boston selected the New Jersey native in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft with the 12th overall pick. However, his pro career has not gone as planned due to injuries and inconsistency. Although baseball is currently in a lockout, Groome ended the 2021 season in impressive fashion as he moved closer to the majors.

In 21 starts between two levels, he posted a 4.81 ERA. While he struggled in Single-A, Groome was able to stay healthy and appeared in more than 14 games for the first time in his pro career. During the season’s final month, the Barnegat High School product got his first taste of Double-A action and flashed his potential.

After posting a 5.29 ERA in Greenville, Groome allowed four runs in three starts for Portland. The 23-year-old showed improved control by walking four batters and striking out twenty-six. He was nearly unhittable as opponents hit .211 against him. Despite the increased pressure, Groome thrived.

While Groome finished with an ERA higher than the Red Sox would have liked, that does not tell his full story. During the season’s final three months, he only allowed more than three earned runs four times. In that stretch, he struck out 77 batters in 55.4 innings of work. It was a positive step for the Red Sox eighth best prospect.

What does the future hold for Groome

When baseball does resume, Groome will most likely start next season in Portland, where he thrived. In September, he struck out at least seven batters per start and didn’t allow a home run. Building on that success will be critical as he moves closer to the majors.

Despite the current uncertainty in baseball, Groome is projected to make his MLB debut in 2022. The Red Sox have created plenty of depth, but injuries are bound to happen. If the 2016 draftee can replicate his success, then he could hear his name called at some point next summer.

(Featured Image credit The Press of Atlantic City)

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