Area Code Games: Day 2 Notebook
August 6, 2015
By Nathan Rode
LONG BEACH, CA—The second day of the 2015 Area Code Games was a short one with the four remaining teams—Athletics (Northern California), Brewers (Southern California), Reds (Four Corners, Hawaii) and White Sox (Midwest)—taking their rounds of batting practice followed by just two games. The event hosted a symposium tonight for players to hear from scouts about the draft process, thus the abbreviated schedule.
The first game featured the only two teams that hadn’t played yet, the Nationals (Southeast) and Yankees (Northeast). Things were quiet behind the plate at the beginning of the East Coast showdown as the country’s top prospect, LHP Jason Groome (Barnegat HS, NJ), strode out to the mound to start for the Yankees. Groome was at IMG Academy this past spring, but will return to his old high school for his senior season. He showed his usual stuff, starting out 92-94 mph with some arm-side life. He settled into the 88-91 range as his outing wore on, but his slider was vintage and a go-to weapon for him. In four innings, he struck out six, five of which came on his breaking ball. It was mostly 75-78 with wipeout break, though he did vary the shape on it some, showing a looser breaking ball with more depth. He also mixed in a straight changeup at 77 that looked better than ones he offered up earlier in the summer. He allowed one run on four hits, a couple of which were on broken bats, and walked one. Groome doesn’t turn 17 until August 23 so he’s among the youngest players in the class—if not the youngest—and is clearly a candidate to be the first overall pick in 2016.