NEW YORK -- Now that Jason Groome is an official member of the Red Sox after signing a $3.65 million contract on Friday, he is eager to get a uniform on and start his professional career.Taken with the 12th overall pick in the Draft, the hard-throwing lefty was a spectator
NEW YORK -- Now that Jason Groome is an official member of the Red Sox after signing a $3.65 million contract on Friday, he is eager to get a uniform on and start his professional career.
Taken with the 12th overall pick in the Draft, the hard-throwing lefty was a spectator the last few weeks while his agents worked out a deal with the Red Sox that came to fruition before Friday's 5 p.m. ET deadline.
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The 17-year-old is confident he can succeed even in the early stages of professional baseball.
"I think I'm more likely ready because I trust my stuff," Groome said. "I've talked to a few of my agent's other clients that are in pro ball, and they said if you pitch and do your thing then you'll get outs and you'll be successful. That's what I'm keeping in my head, so when I get out there, I'm just going to compete, throw strikes and try to get outs and get a win."
The Red Sox shared Groome's enthusiasm.
"Yeah, we're extremely excited to have Jason with us for a number of reasons," said director of amateur scouting Mike Rikard. "Typically through the signing process, those things can take time, but we were very confident we were going to be able to make Jason part of the Red Sox family and extremely ecstatic sitting here today, knowing that his career is soon to be getting started."
Groome will report to Fort Myers, Fla., on Sunday and start out in the Gulf Coast League. Rikard said that Groome could pitch for Class A Short-Season Lowell within the next two to three weeks.
"Obviously, with an elite talent like Jay, we're going to be extremely conservative right out of the gate," said Rikard. "As you can probably tell just from hearing the tone of his voice, he's champing at the bit to get going, and we want to get him out there and get his feet under him, get him on our throwing program and certainly get him headed in the right direction as soon as possible."
It has been a whirlwind few days for Groome, who flew to Boston for a physical on Thursday, got to chat with Red Sox manager John Farrell and even took a walk to the Green Monster seats.
"Overall, that was my first time in Boston," said Groome. "I loved it. My first time in Fenway Park as well. I was walking around and it's just a beautiful park. I was standing atop the Green Monster, and it was just awesome seeing that field. And then Mr. Farrell, he was just a great guy. We were talking about how we're both from Jersey, and he couldn't wait to get my career started. Overall it was a great exchange being up there yesterday."
The 6-foot-5, 200-pound lefty from Barnegat High School in New Jersey was the top-rated prospect by MLBPipeline.com entering the Draft, and the Red Sox were able to get him with the 12th pick due to signability concerns and perhaps because of some questions about his makeup.
"It's kind of tough when people are saying stuff like that … but there's nothing you can do about it," Groome said. "If you know it's not true, then it's not true. You just go about your day and keep playing baseball."
Groome has the looks of a future top-of-the-rotation starter. He features a fastball that sits at 93-94 mph and can reach 96, and he has a nasty curveball with tight rotation and bite.
He also has a history of rooting for the Red Sox, even though he grew up surrounded by Yankees fans.
"Everyone in my family [roots for the Yankees], except for me and my father are Red Sox fans," said Groome. "Me and my father both have the same type of favorite player. He liked Pedro Martinez. Every time I would be watching baseball with him, the Red Sox would be playing the Yankees and Pedro would be on the mound. I grew a liking to Pedro's style and how he played and the Red Sox, how they played as a whole. It mainly started like that.
"Now they have two of my favorite players playing for them, which are David Price and Dustin Pedroia. Two great ballplayers. It's mainly just from my father, I've grown to take a liking to them."
The Red Sox were able to sign their first 10 picks from this year's Draft.
"Yeah, it was very important," said Rikard. "We selected in each round with the intent to sign. That was certainly a mission accomplished to make it to the finish line with everyone intact. When you get to the end of the process and you're not quite there yet, it can certainly make for some hectic times, with a lot of phone calls and balls in the air, so to speak.
"We ended up in a really good place and everyone's happy and we got a lot of good, talented young players that are very eager to start their professional careers. We're very excited."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.