Padres PNO (Positive/Negative/Outlook): Jay Groome

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Following a solid finish to the 2022 season at Triple-A, Jay Groome posted very mixed results in 2023, which may place the former 12th overall pick’s position in the organization in jeopardy.

Once the 12th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Jay Groome entered the Padres organization via trade at the 2022 deadline.

To some, Groome has a high void to fill, as he was the piece acquired from the Red Sox in exchange for taking the now-retired Eric Hosmer off the Padres’ hands. Groome took the change of scenery in stride, posting a 3.16 ERA in 10 games for the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas with a 44 to 19 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

However, the wheels came off the proverbial cart entirely in 2023 for the young left-hander. Groome returned to Triple-A in 2023 and broke the Chihuahuas’ single-season strikeout record, finishing with 137 K’s in 134 ⅔ innings. However, he also walked a mind-boggling 112 batters in that span.

With the Padres in need of starting pitching depth, is Groome really an option for big innings at Petco Park?

Let’s dive into the Positives, Negatives, and Outcome of Jay Groome for the 2024 season.



Statistical Anomaly

A bit of an odd positive, isn’t it. When looking over Jay Groome’s minor league career, there are signs that his performance last season could have been a statistical anomaly. Before the 2023 season, Groome had never walked more than 5.08 batters per nine innings in a full season; last season, his BB/9 was at 7 ½ BB/9. Groome also succumbed to the home run ball at the highest rate of his career last season, with a HR rate of 1.67 HR/9 innings.

Despite his surface stats being incredibly hard to look at (4-10, 8.55 ERA), there were some games in his season that showed the potential was still there> One such game was a start against the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers on May 2, where he struck out nine, walked three, and allowed no runs on no hits. Groome had a few other sparkling starts scattered across his season, one which consistency would help increase the number of.

Left-Handed Pitching Depth

If there is anything working in Jay Groome’s favor for the 2024 San Diego Padres, it is the absolute lack of left-handed starting pitching depth. The deepest place in the farm for lefty starters is Double-A, with Robby Snelling being the next most ready lefty option. But Snelling is still roughly a season away from his debut. Groome also has a leg up on other contenders like Ryan Carpenter who are in Padres camp: Groome has a 40-man roster spot.


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Yes, El Paso is a terrible environment for pitchers. However, to go from 19 walks in 51 innings to 119 walks in 130+ innings cannot be solely due to the pitching climate in the Pacific Coast League. Could it be the yips or close calls? Possibly, but there has to be something more. Having 19 of his 30 starts with more than four walks is not going to be conducive to success at the major league level.

Performance in 2023 Cannot Be Ignored

It wasn’t all a lack of command, however. When he was able to find the strike zone, opponents were making significantly more contact. Hitters were hitting .373 on balls in play against him at the Triple-A level, and when the average BABIP in baseball is around.300, it signifies that Groome was allowing more baserunners, as shown by his WHIP (walks & hits per inning) at 2.10.

While many pitchers have rough seasons in their development, a jump this drastic could certainly impact his standing in the organization.





For the 2024 season, it is difficult to make a projection for what the Padres can expect out of Jay Groome. He has yet to appear in a Cactus League game (as of 2/27/2024), and it is hard to gauge whether he will rebound or fall further.

It is possible to see him in the Majors in 2024, but his performances will be telling as to whether he will be able to be a quality depth piece, or whether he may be off the 40-man by the time the regular season rolls around.

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