Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the Dodgers drafted a pitcher who had Tommy John surgery. That’s what they did with their second round pick (No. 68 overall) in West Virginia University right-handed pitcher Michael Grove.
6’3, 200 pounds
First thing you need to know is he had TJ surgery last summer, and he didn’t pitch for West Virginia in 2018. So, that’s fun.
Here’s what Baseball America had to say about him, because he wasn’t ranked by FanGraphs or MLB Pipeline:
“Grove was shaping up to be a priority follow this year as he showed a mid-rotation caliber arm for West Virginia last season before he blew out his elbow in his ninth start of the season. He hasn’t pitched in a game this year as he recovers, but pre-injury he was blowing away hitters with a 93-96 mph fastball and a plus breaking ball with above-average control. Grove’s injury status makes him a true wild card for the draft, but a team willing to take a chance could end up landing a second/third round talent in a later round.”
Clearly, the Dodgers were the team to take a chance on him in the second.
This is from Michael Lananna, who also works for Baseball America.
Ooooh baby — the @Dodgers with a sneaky 2nd round pick. West Virginia RHP Michael Grove. Didn't pitch this year due to TJ.
Saw him last year. Was 91-94 mph (T95) with a hard, biting slider. Carved through a very good TCU lineup. pic.twitter.com/y7LzGaTKqM
— Michael Lananna (@mlananna) June 5, 2018
So, the potential is there. It still feels like a bit of an overdraft. But, those in charge know a lot more than we do on this side, so this is a wait-and-see situation.
Here’s a little more from Twitter:
Dodgers take Michael Grove – Looked like a sure first rounder until injury
— Michael Cook (@cookiedabookie9) June 5, 2018
Dodgers going off the board here with WVU RHP Michael Grove, was injured most of the year. Loud stuff when healthy, if he rounds back into form that's very good value
— Brian Sakowski (@B_Sakowski_PG) June 5, 2018
Billy Gasparino said that Michael Grove is about 12 months out from his TJ surgery. Area scout Jonah Rosenthal saw Grove numerous times as a freshman and sophomore at West Virginia
— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) June 5, 2018
The Dodgers aren’t shy about taking college pitchers in the second round with injury histories. They popped Mitchell White out of Santa Clara University in 2016, who had Tommy John surgery. They drafted Morgan Cooper last year out of the University of Texas, who has yet to throw a pitch in the pros. He fits the profile, except those guys at least pitched in their respective draft years.
The slot-recommended amount is $917,000, and it probably shouldn’t take near that to sign him. Maybe some money saved here could free up the Dodgers to spend it in the subsequent rounds.
If he comes back healthy and showing the same biting slider and solid command, he could be a nice mid-rotation starter. But we’re a long way from that reality. For now, let’s see how he develops — or if he even pitches this season.