BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Red Sox may have gotten the steal of the draft Thursday night when lefty pitcher Jason Groome fell to them with the 12th overall pick.
The highlights look great for the 17-year-old, who was once projected to be one of the top picks in the draft. But then concern started to spread about high contract demands and even some maturity issues, and the latter has Tony Massarotti concerned.
Groome was ready to play for Vanderbilt, a factory at turning promising young pitchers into even better Major League prospects, but just last week he transferred to Chipola College, a junior college in Florida. It was a move many saw as a form of draft leverage (Groome is eligible to re-enter the draft next year should he and the Red Sox not agree to a contract), but according to The Boston Herald, Vandy backed away from Groome before he transferred, adding another layer of intrigue to the Boston draft pick.
Mazz says money is not an issue for the Red Sox. If Groome is as good as everyone says he is, the Sox will fork over the cash. But what exactly are these other issues clouding what should be a promising player for Boston’s future?
“What are you willing to look past if you’re the Red Sox,” wondered Mazz. “If he’s a partier, I’m not worried. But I want to know what the issue is.
“He’s 6-foot-5, 230 pounds and he’s got a hell of a curveball. We all know the Red Sox don’t have any pitching in the organization. He’s a couple of years away anyways at 17, so I’m all for a pitcher and taking a chance. But what are the issues?
“All I’m telling you is a kid who was supposed to be No. 1 in the draft slipped to No. 12. There are questions about his character and the Red Sox took him. Are you OK with that? I say the Red Sox should be gambling in the draft a little bit, because they don’t always get the chance,” Mazz continued. “I’m intrigued, but I want to know what the issue is. Some of the rumors I’m hearing aren’t good.”
Whatever those issues may be, this will certainly be a storyline to follow closely going forward.