With the top pick in this year's draft, the Phillies have many options. They may not have to look very far to find the best prospect, though. One of the projected top picks will pitch in the team's backyard on Monday.
Jason Groome, a Barnegat, New Jersey native, is expected to be one of the first few players off the board on June 9.
"I never really imagined it this big, but as I started to hit 16 years old, it all really started to come along with all the pro scouts showing up to my games," Groome said. "And right from there I knew I had something special, so I'm just running with it right now."
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The 6-foot-5 lefty has the potential to lead the Phillies' rotation for years to come. In 2015, Groome boasted a 0.98 ERA with 77 strikeouts and just nine walks.
One general manager even said he "might be the best high school pitching prospect since Clayton Kershaw."
At just 17 years old, Groome consistently throws in the mid-to-high 90s.
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has preached about the importance of developing solid pitching during his tenure as general manager, but has said that the Phillies will take the best player available with the first overall pick, regardless of position (see story).
Luckily for the Phillies, Groome just may fit both of those criteria.
The team has scouted Groome heavily already, and will get another chance on Monday when Groome, a Vanderbilt commit, will pitch against Gloucester Catholic and another draft prospect, pitcher Tyler Mondile. The game is at 7 p.m. at Campbell's Field in Camden.
The two pitchers have teamed up to raise money to strike out cancer. Groome will raise money for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, while Mondile will for Kari Jenkinson, an Audubon High School athlete battling brain cancer. The proceeds from the game will be split in half and donated.
Mondile, who has commited to pitch at Florida State University, was a first-team all-South Jersey selection in 2015 when he posted a 5-2 record with a 1.28 ERA and 56 strikeouts with just nine walks.
The two pitchers have the same advisor and want to see each other succeed at the next level.
"I threw a no-no, and then about a couple days later, (Groome) threw a no-hitter, so it was like 'alright, you one-upped me a little bit,'" Mondile said. "It's good seeing him do well, and same with me to succeed."
"I'm just taking it day by day and fulfilling my dream," Groome said of the upcoming draft.
Maybe the Phillies will make that dream come true on June 9.